Residents say rats are overrunning Chicago's North Side

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - It’s Chicago against the rats, and the rats appear to be winning.

Phone calls to 3-1-1 show that affluent neighborhoods on the North Side have the biggest problem, or at least the most complaints.

Neighborhoods like West Town, Lake View and Lincoln Park have some of the highest number of complaint calls. The city says there have been more than 26,000 calls to 3-1-1 so far this year, and more than 2300 of them have come from people in Lincoln Park.

But when it comes to rats, it seems it's a no-win situation.

“I mean, I had one out here the other night, it looked like a small dog it was that big, it was awful,” said Lincoln Park resident Kimberly Terzis.

Terzis loves her patio, but she's got a problem with rats that invade from the alley behind her home.

“The problem is we can't sit out here because the rats just come from the alley, they come through the backyard, they go under the fences and they just run back-and-forth all night long,” Terzis said.

The city says the problem is rats go where the food sources are, which can be garbage or dog feces. That's why the city asks residents to pick up after their dogs and keep the lids on their trash cans.

The rat complaint calls this year are on par with previous years, according to the Department of Streets and Sanitation.

However, residents wish there was more the city could do.

“This area right here, it was basically just like a hole and we just filled it all in, but you can see basically bugs everywhere. I would imagine there's dead rats in their,” said Lincoln Park resident Janie Howell.

Howell said she sees rats every day behind her home.

“And they're always running around like their pets or something,” Howell added.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans to reassign ten Streets and Sanitation workers to rat control next year, and residents will take all the help they can get.

FOX 32: What kind of rat problem do you have here?

“Constant. It's at any time during the day. It's not nighttime, it's daytime as well,” said Joseph Granger.

Terzis uses a private rat control service and described having a dying rat running around her patio recently.

“And it went on for hours I had to have somebody come and kill it with a 2 x 4 in order to be able to exit the house,” Terzis said.