The owner claimed the dog died as a result of fly-tipping in her back alleyway on Brereton Avenue in Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire. Louise, 59, had to have her dog put down after she caught Weil’s Disease from one of the rats the mountain of rubbish attracted.
Louise, who is disabled, has said the rat infestation has resulted in them taking residence in her downstairs bathroom which she can no longer use.
Alleyways in the county are the responsibility of the tenants whose homes back onto them.
The mountain of fly-tipping is pushed against Louise’s back gate and reaches up to around four feet. It includes mattresses, bricks, trees and piles of rubbish.
Louise told Grimsby Live: “About three years ago when we moved in, there was about two feet of rubbish in the alleyway and it was all pushing against my back gate.
“I’m the last person in the alleyway, my garden is the last one. Whoever is fly-tipping, is chucking it all outside my gate. It broke the lock on my gate and pushed it open – we’ve fixed all that, but since then, the rubbish has got to about three foot, maybe four foot high. There’s brick rubble because the wall that’s supporting the building next to the alleyway, that’s fallen into the alleyway. There’s trees in there, mattresses in there, it’s all in there. And the rats have started breeding in there, and they’ve got leptospirosis.
“My dog that I had when I first moved in caught one of the rats. She didn’t eat it and didn’t bite into it, she just caught it. We had to have her put down because she caught leptospirosis which is a disease rats carry that makes you constantly vomit and makes your kidneys shut down. It’s a really, really horrible disease.”
Leptospirosis is more commonly known as Weil’s Disease. Some cases are more serious than others, and it can be fatal to both animals and humans.
She added: “I’ve seen rats in the garden, I can’t go in the garden. They’ve now made their way into the house. The vermin control guy who came said he thinks they’re coming in through the sewer. I can’t go in my downstairs bathroom, I can’t even have a bath. They’ve been in the bath, they’ve been up the shower curtain, they’ve been on my shelving unit. I’ve got rat droppings all over my towels. My dressing gown is still in there and that’s probably got rat urine on it. I’ve now got rat poison all over my floor so I can’t go in there.”
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Louise went on to claim: “When I contacted North East Lincolnshire Council, for three days I got passed from pillar to post. They kept saying it’s not their problem, it’s not their property, it’s not their responsibility and they’re not funded for it. They said they have no special department for dealing with vermin control. They told me to ring a vermin control person in Grimsby. It’s cost me £300 which I can’t afford. My son has had to pay for it.”
Louise is unable to move her mobility scooter through the back alleyway as it has become overgrown with weeds and piles of fly tipping.
Louise added: “I don’t know what to do. It’s been a week and I still can’t get into my bathroom. I’ve had to push myself to go upstairs to use the toilet there, and it’s really damaging my knees. I’ve got several disabilities that means I can’t walk very far. I’ve got spondylosis at the bottom of my back, bulging discs at the top of my spine, and fibromyalgia. I’ve got something wrong with the bottom of my feet and I’ve got diabetes. I saved up to buy a mobility scooter and then I couldn’t get it in the back. Nobody can get in the back, absolutely nobody. Nobody can get from the alleyway to my gate, it’s that full.
“I’ve been pushed from pillar to post and each time they say they can’t do anything. They say it’s not their problem – but it’s an Environmental Health problem. The rats carry a disease that can kill people. If you don’t want them to fly-tip, put something there for people to put their rubbish in.”
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Cllr Ron Shepherd, portfolio holder for Safer and Stronger Communities, said: “Alleyways are private property and the Council is not responsible for clearing them. They belong to the houses that back onto them and they are responsible for their upkeep.
“We sympathise with households who live next to alleyways that are blighted by fly-tipping. Earlier in the year, we launched a new scheme where people can apply for our support when clearing an alleyway.
“This scheme is now closed, but it is something we may consider running again in the future.”
He added: “Councils from other parts of the country have told us they experience similar problems with privately owned alleyways, it is a national problem and not unique to this area. Fly-tipping is illegal. It could be avoided if people disposed of their waste correctly. We need strong evidence that will stand up in court to investigate fly-tipping offences. If someone saw rubbish being dumped in the alley or has CCTV footage and are prepared to give us a witness statement of this, then we will investigate. We take environmental enforcement seriously and during April and May this year, we issued 18 fixed penalty notices for fly-tipping following enforcement investigations.”