Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Carmel on the Case: Mouse House
The home of a South Florida family has become a mouse house, but there's no Disney-like fun in this situation. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case.
Kathy DeStefano: "I was sitting here, and all of a sudden I see not one but two mice at the same time come traveling across here, jumping on the floor right by me. I got up screamed and ran away. I mean I cannot continue to live this way."
Kathy and Mike DeStefano not only see what they believe to be mice but could also be small rats. They have been hearing them for weeks now.
Mike DeStefano: "You hear scratching and someone told me its gnawing."
They were behind the couch and in the kitchen.
Kathy DeStefano: "This is overnight. These are all fresh droppings."
They were in the hall in their daughter's bedroom and even around the dog's water bowl.
Kathy DeStefano: "They seem to bypass the traps."
Carmel Cafiero: "These droppings are all over the place."
Mike DeStefano: "Yeah."
They even got into the family's food.
Mike DeStefano: "And I opened up the cabinet and there's a mouse standing on top of the flour bag."
The couple says they've spent hundreds of dollars on pest control and repairs to their house but it's not helping. As soon as they get rid of some, more get in. The family is convinced the rodents are coming from the abandoned house next door.
They say no one has maintained the foreclosed home although the city did eventually come in an mow the yard.
Carmel Cafiero: "With one out of every 53 houses in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties in foreclosure this kind of neglect can be found throughout South Florida."
The City of Coconut Creek says this house is creating a nuisance and a safety issue. The city says it's the bank's responsibility.
Shelia Rose: "The general maintenance and lack thereof as you can see by visiting the property is evident. It clearly violates several city codes."
But the city says Bank of America is not cooperating.
Shelia Rose: "There's been numerous attempts to get the bank to maintain the property and we will continue to try to get the bank to maintain the property."
The bank has been issued a summons to appear at a city hearing at the end of September. We contacted Bank of America but no one would comment. In the meantime, the DeStefanos can only hope they don't have to wait a month for someone to do something to help them.
Kathy DeStefano: "It's like a circle and and each person is passing the buck to somebody else, but we're living with mice every day."
And while this is the first rodent infestation we've heard about foreclosed homes are causing problems though out South Florida and when property is left to deteriorate, everybody loses.
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