“The City is not responsible for the rat problem,” said Santacroce. “There is no City vector control services that we have apart from our own maintenance on our own buildings. There is no mechanism to come out and do vector control.”
Pointing out the rat-infested palm tree at issue is on a property site that Santacroce described as “in a bit of disarray,” with the palm tree covered with English ivy, Santacroce added, “The City prohibits the planting, or augmentation, of City trees in the public right-of-way.”
Added the City PIO, “People always love English ivy, until it grows damaging the host tree. We’re not responsible for outgrown of the ivy, or any pests nesting in the tree.”
Santacroce said the City sent a letter to the affected tree’s property owner this week informing them they “must clean that palm tree and remove the ivy within 30 days.”
Once the ivy is removed, Santacroce noted the ivy that gives rats cover there will be gone, effectively resolving the rodent problem.
If the homeowner fails to comply with the City order, Santacroce said, “The City will take action to remove that ivy, and assess the damage that has been done to the tree. And if the tree has been damaged, the City will look to recover the taxpayer’s costs.”