Village News, 6/23/22

Dear Village Neighbor / Friend,

Yes – I made a mistake and undoubtedly contributed to community discord concerning the use of poison bait stations for rodent control. I do apologize. See below to get a better response to this contentious issue.

1. Rats, Rat Poisons and Our Pets – Look back to the 29 August 2019 enews edition when last covered this topic. We all undoubtedly have rats, not their smaller cousins – the house mice, but 11” rats with an additional 7” of tail if you or your immediate neighbors compost, have dogs that leave their feces in backyards, have English Ivy that affords cover and food or if you or your neighbors dispose of food scraps and waste in backyards (please don’t). Rats will range up to 150 feet (50 yards) from their burrows to a food source. Their range expands if/when they find another food source and nesting site at the edge of their existing range. A single pair of Norway rats and their offspring can become nearly 300 in one year given plenty of food, mating partners, shelter, and minimal predation. Life expectancy is 3 – 5 years. At the first sign of rats:

  • Clean up their food supply, like garbage in open containers, bird and wildlife feed on the ground, pet waste in the yard or your own table food scraps & waste that may have been left on the ground.
  • Seal up holes or gaps into your home or building to prevent rodents from returning. Also seal their entry way into their boroughs. A rat hole is typically very tidy and small. Most will be tennis ball size down to a quarter coin in diameter.
  • Trap rodents by placing traps or bait stations where rodents frequent or travel. Please first look at this website that shows product effectiveness and pet safety - Scaling the Best Pet-Safe Rat and Mouse Poisons | 2022 Buyer's Guide (stoppestinfocom). Suppose we should also caution about the use of snap traps and poison bait stations that should be placed where your children and pets can’t get caught in the trap or handle the bait. Most of the larger rat snap traps (3X the size of a mouse trap) can break human and pet bones - place them carefully.  

Poisons come in various forms. Some secrete chemical odors that may be harmful to you, your family, and pets if inhaled. If you handle other poisons without proper protective gloves and gear – you’ll be off to the hospital. Others are slow acting which means the target may have to visit the poison on more than one trip to consume enough poison to die. Not sure we want our children to witness that slow and painful death. And others are fast acting that typically require only one visit to the bait but are more likely to transfer the poison to any predators eating their dead flesh. 

Poison bait stations are an obvious risk for children and pets who may encounter the bait. Scavengers (fox, coyote, feral cats, hawks, etc) that may consume the poison bait or catch, play, or eat a poisoned rat are also in danger. We had a couple dogs become ill after either getting into a bait station or eating a dead rat that had apparently been poisoned. Use approved bait only and highly recommend you consult with a professional pest management company who should be skilled at placing the bait stations to minimize risk.

I did receive a response from county, and they confirmed that the use of poison is legal, but they did encourage all of us to seek guidance from a licensed pest control company or at least to first educate ourselves to the dangers to family, pets, and of course other wildlife. Here is their response:

Regarding the homemade poison, residents should definitely not use it as bait for a trap. Store-bought poison may be used selectively but only in situations where a commercial pest management company is not available. I recommend that a licensed pest control operator handle the poison and bait traps, as they have the necessary knowledge and experience.”

2. Water & Sewer Lines Insurance – Ricardo Cubillos (Vancouver Road) wanted to address our home insurance articles. Ricardo was an insurance agent for 20 years. His own words:

          “Unfortunately, most companies will give you the answer you were given, and it’s sad A good insurance agent should be able to know the policy and give you an answer to most hypothetical situation questions. You should never have to file a claim to learn if something is covered or not. 

          A standard home insurance policy WILL NOT cover any cost associated with repairing a water or sewer line that goes from the house to the street. Home policies cover A - Dwelling and B - Other structures. The pipes are connected to the house, but are not part of A or B. In addition, wear and tear is excluded as a peril for any loss. You can only get coverage through someone like HomeServe (855/336-2465), as previously noted. 

          As for damage caused by water backing through pipes or drains to either A, B or C (C - contents/personal property), most companies offer this protection as a rider/optional coverage. Policies vary but this is likely to be available as optional with most companies.”

3. Slow Down – It was suggested that I not imply that those who drive too fast are just younger drivers – we also have too many older, more experienced and in fact old-enough-to-know better drivers who should be counselled or have their license suspended.

4. Random Act of Kindness – I missed reporting a neighbor’s child who helped with our community yard sale. I was granted permission to include her, but simply forgot. Even though late, we all should thank Razan Hagi for helping me distribute the yard sale lists to participants. It certainly is refreshing to have our youngsters volunteer to help the community.

5. Calendar:

  • 13 July, 5 – 7:00 PM – Springfield Fun Family Nights - children’s entertainment (balloons, magic, and science shows and more)
  • 13 July, 7:00 PM – Free Concert in the Burke Lake Park (Randy Thompson Band playing Americana Country, Roots Rock
  • 23 July - Secure Document Shredding at Rolling Valley Kiss & Ride

6. Joyous Family News – Kerry E. Cooley, my son’s wife, and mother of 3 of my 5 grandkids will celebrate her 29th birthday on 26 June or maybe it is an anniversary of her 29th.

7. Contractor / Business Recommendation – Gus & his son Abdullah Hagi recommend Michael Fisher’s Mobile Dent Repair (571/278-7004) who came to their Edmonton Court home to repair some minor damage to Abdullah’s car. Price was good but doing the repair at their home was a big selling point.

8. NextDoor Community Lead – this is an easy community service task that can be performed from the comfort of your own home using your own computer and reviewing posts that you probably already review. How about being our community lead? I am now, but it’s another task that I need to hand off to another before getting much closer to leaving our WS Village. Your job as lead is to simply vote on identified posts that may violate ND rules. You vote, but do not make the final decision.

9. Yards and Dogs – many village yards are beautiful. I am envious since seemingly all I can grow are weeds. But if you look at those exceptional yards, you may see some off-color spots where our dogs either left their mark or other dogs marked (urinated) over the first marker. The house side of the sidewalk is personal property. The sidewalk and that grassy strip between the sidewalk and curb is known as the Verge and belongs to Virginia. Yes, we are expected to maintain the verge in front of our homes, but it is there where our dogs should relieve itself and not on another’s personal property. And please do pick up what your dog drops and then dispose of it at your own home – not in the Storm Water Drain Intakes or in another’s trash toter. Is any of this news to you?

As John Strong used to say “if it is green, call it grass and mow it!” Good rain; wasn’t it?  Stay safe!

John Cooley