By Kristin Emery

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WEST END (KDKA) — It is not something anyone wants to see — rats in the front yard.

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But that’s what residents of one Pittsburgh West End neighborhood say is happening and they say it is the city’s fault.

Residents on Herschel Street say they love their neighborhood and that it’s a nice, quiet area. They have a playground and a little league field nearby. But on the other side of that field sits a city dump and they say that’s led to some unwanted visitors plaguing them since fall.

Brandi Leicht lives on Herschel Street.

“I came out here to throw my garbage away and I saw a rat and I was freaked out,” she said.

She immediately called her landlord who called in an exterminator. They put out bait boxes to combat the rat infestation, but so far it hasn’t helped. Now, she’s afraid to let her 5-year-old son play outside.

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“I don’t like him out here because they’re everywhere,” she said. “They’re huge. They’re like cats. They’re big.”

The Department of Public Works 5th Division building is a block away beside the yard debris dump that accepts leaves, grass and tree trimmings. Neighbors here say that’s the source of the rodents.

“At first I thought it was something I did, and they said, no, they’re coming from the sewers over there,” Leicht said.

She says she’s seen the rats for several weeks. Her neighbors started seeing them in early fall.

“It’s long enough,” she said. “Maybe not to the city it’s not long, but how would they feel if they had rats in their area?”

KDKA’s Kristin Emery spoke with Pittsburgh Chief Operations Officer Guy Costa about the residents’ complaints and he said he’s aware of the problem.

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Costa says the city has put out bait to combat the rats and that the record-setting rainfall we experienced this past year could be contributing to the rodents’ being driven above ground. He says they are taking steps to fight the vile vermin.