Village checks for animal infestation at vacant home

By Jef Rietsma

A Vicksburg police officer and a building inspector met Sept. 1 with the owner of a vacant home on the 400 block of East Prairie about complaints that it’s infested with raccoons, opossums and feral cats.

The condition of the home was raised by neighbors at the village council’s Aug. 16 meeting. Village Manager Jim Mallery said he was not a part of the Sept. 1 inspection but will be issued a full report the week of Sept 6. He said he had a brief conversation with the police officer and the inspector, Chris Hamilton, administrative manager with South Central Michigan Construction Code Inspections.

“I was told there are, in fact, issues with the house that have to be addressed immediately by the homeowner,” Mallery said. “The full details will be available to me in a written report I’ll receive in about a week.” He added that utilities have been shut off at the home since 2005.

At the Aug. 16 meeting, resident John Fuller told council members the situation is “getting really bad.” He explained his proximity to the home – across the street and three houses down from the residence in question – and said it appears the house has been abandoned for more than 30 years.

“It’s infested with anything you can imagine; raccoons, opossums, cats,” he said. “You can’t even try to enter the house without smelling the rampant stench of (urine-based) ammonia coming from the house.”

Fuller said the location has become especially attractive to feral cats. He said the cats are in abundance and can be found roaming the neighborhood day and night.

“This is something that desperately needs to be taken into consideration, that the village can take care of either the house and the feral cats, or get something under way so we can get some resolution because it’s going to get to the point where I’m going to end up going out and getting my .22-gauge and start putting them down,” Fuller said. “They’re entering my garage and my garage now smells like ammonia. The neighbor next to me has a garage whose door won’t go down and that’s another place where they’re living.”

Dean Frantz, who lives in the 500 block of East Prairie Street, also voiced his concerns. He said it’s not unusual to see raccoons walking across his front yard, going to or from the offending location.

“Tons of raccoons and cats (at the residence),” he confirmed. “There are cats everywhere.”

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