OMAHA (KPTM) – A neighborhood association wants something done about what they're calling constant shooting during the night. They say people aren't shooting at each other, but at rodents. But taking these matters into their own hands can be dangerous.
It's a brave act sometimes driven by fear—when people see a rodent, then try to kill it.
A raccoon or possum is like a big pest and many people cannot stand to be near them.
In some Omaha neighborhoods, hearing shots fired at rodents is more frightening than seeing the rodents themselves.
"There was one individual that shot maybe 15 of these rodents," says Virgil Patlan with the Burlington Road Neighborhood Association.
He and his wife Rebecca informed Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer about the problem at BRNA's last meeting.
"That's illegal," Patlan continues. "You can't shoot a firearm within city limits."
Patlan says recently, too many people have been shooting rodents. He calls this "STRAW" –Shoot The Rodent At Will. He says it causes problems for police when they arrive at shooting scenes, but cannot locate any shooting activity. Then they file a report with no suspect.
"You need to call no matter what, that's important," says Patlan. "But if we're finding out it's people shooting at the rodents then that needs to be taken care of."
Officials with the Nebraska Humane Society say the rodent increase should not alarm people to the point they feel they need to shoot them.
"It's not because the population is going up, it's actually because more people have contact with those wild life in the fall," says spokeswoman Pam Wiese.
But they do pose a threat to traffic.
"Unfortunately we will see a lot more road kill, because they are getting hit by cars as they try to go across the roads."
One way to keep rodents from your home is by minimizing the amount of garbage cans you have outside. Officials say too much trash outside is like leaving dinner for rodents.
"Just take precautionary measures; it's like having a dog come up and eat your trash," says Patlan.
The advice is not to kill any raccoon, possum or skunk you see out in the streets, but walk away.
Or let them kill each other.
OPD has not yet commented on whether this is a law enforcement issue.
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