Residents of an East Atlanta apartment complex are desperately seeking a solution to a massive rat infestation that they say is endangering the health and safety of their families.
In a news report Monday, Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB-TV aired shocking footage of dozens of large rats scurrying around a garbage dumpster at the Highlands at East Atlanta apartment complex.
Tenants, some of whom said that the rats had invaded their homes, believe the garbage is the source of the problem and that secure trash receptacles could solve the infestation.
Absent a response from the property owner, some tenants have taken matters into their own hands: One man, the father of a young child, told the station that he had shot at the rats with a BB gun.
"I'm worried about, as a mom, them biting my children when they come out," resident Lewetta Foster told WSB-TV.
HuffPost called the property management office at Highlands at East Atlanta, and were referred to the company that owns the complex, Alpharetta, Ga.-based NuRock.
Inquiries were not returned as of press time.
NuRock, which owns luxury apartments, senior communities, and affordable housing developments such as Highlands, says on its website that it aspires to help residents "improve their lot in life," and lists integrity and accountability among its values.
The company's managing principal, Robert Hoskins, is a on the board of the Georgia Affordable Housing Coalition, a trade association that advocates the interest of businesses participating in the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program.
An Internet search revealed unverified complaints about the quality of life at Highlands and other NuRock properties dating back to July 2011. Issues raised by users included mold and bed bug or roach infestations, among others.
Highlands at East Atlanta isn't the first NuRock community to come under scrutiny. Last July, NBC Austin reported on tenant struggles with the company over properties it owns in Texas.
Residents told reporters from KXAN-TV that their complaints, which included mold, faulty electrical outlets, and vermin infestation, "were ignored for months by the property managers."
HuffPost called the office of County Commissioner Larry Johnson, where Chief of Staff Margaret Britten said that it was the first time the office had heard of the infestation.
Britten said Wednesday that the Commissioner's Office would check with the department of sanitation to inquire about the collection of trash at the complex, which is located in an unincorporated part of DeKalb County.
"If there's cause, we'll get the health department involved," she said, adding that until there was an investigation, the health risk was "speculative."