Thursday, August 3, 2006
That's Just Wrong: Bats
They've actually been described as flying rodents. If any of us had bats living in our house, we would insist they be removed. But when one woman found out they're protected by law, she said That's Just Wrong.
WSVN--For Stella, you could definitely say this has been a year to forget.
After suffering signifigant hurricane damage, her house is being soaked by the summer storms.
Stella: "I had the upstairs windows blown in. Had the downstairs windows off tracks and blown in. I had holes and lost most of my roofing."
But what's left of her roof requires immediate attention.
So when she hired workers to hang a tarp, she was shocked when the men went a little batty.
Stella: "They wouldn't finish the tarping because bats attacked them."
One worker says he was even bitten by a bat.
In fact, Stella was so scared, she did what any of us would do and called an exterminator.
Stella: "It costs about two to three hundred. I said ya, fine, we'll pay that. But they said we can't because they're nesting right now and they're protected so we can't remove them until after August."
The reason - if you can believe it, the bats are protected under state law.
So while they have shelter, Stella's roof corrodes with every storm.
Stella: "Today was probably the worst. I felt like the chinese water torture. With every drip in my closet it was like me praying please lord let this stop."
Now, she says That's Just Wrong.
Stella: "It's a question of who is more important. I believe that they should be removed safely. I'm not looking for them to be exterminated. But I am looking to have my house protected."
Bat expert Dr. Bill Kern of the University of Florida agrees.
He understands stella has a right to protect her property.
But he also knows the law and it says keeping a mother bat away from her babies is considered animal cruelty.
Dr. Bill Kern: "In the state of Florida, killing an animal by depriving it of food and water is considered to be animal cruelty."
That doesn't mean however Stella can't have a tarp over her home.
In this case, a tarp shouldn't prevent a mother bat because there are holes to enter through the bottom of the roof.
Dr. Bill Kern: "In her particular situation, she had such severe roof damage that the bats are not going to cause that much more of a problem."
The bats however are no longer Stella's biggest problem
Now, instead of waiting to have them removed, she's waiting for repairs.
You see just as we were helping her, the roof collapsed, which in this case is a blessing.
Today, the bats are gone, and crews can once again restore her home back to normal.
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