Oak Park has a rat problem.

It is not alone in the Chicago area. And Oak Park’s adjacency to the city, which really has a rat problem, isn’t helping.

Also contributing to an upturn in the rat population, according to Oak Park’s public heath department, is the end of COVID lockdowns and, most immediately, summer weather.

While village government has stepped up its contracted extermination services, Theresa Chapple-McGruder, health department director, says active collaboration among businesses, residents and the village will be needed to impact the current infestation. She points to actions such as picking up after dogs — yes, rats eat dog poop, cutting back on bird feed or chicken feed on the ground and making sure garbage is contained in tightly closed cans, all help in the effort.

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