Vacant plant blamed for rat infestation purchased; Activists worry rat poison could harm eagles

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PITTSBURGH - Hazelwood neighbors believe a vacant recycling plant is the cause of a rat problem, and animal activists say eagles living nearby could be at risk. 

“It is a big concern.  We have children and rats in the area carry diseases,” said a neighbor.

“Now that the weather’s breaking, the rats have been infesting the neighborhood. It has just been a disaster,” said Pittsburgh City Councilman Corey O’Connor.

O'Connor explained there was little the city could do with the site since it was private property, but on Monday, neighbors got word that a new company is coming in and cleaning up. 

A federal judge approved the sale of the recycling center to GGMJS LLC., a Pittsburgh holding company.

Animal activists worry a bald eagle family that has made its nest near the plant could be harmed.

"I think we have to do everything in our power to make sure we maintain the eagles in our area," said Bill Powers.

Powers is the president of Pix Controller, the company with the cameras fixed in the eagles.

"The chances of the eagles picking up a rat from this area are pretty high.  The concerns are now that the eagles will pick up a rat that might be poisoned,” said Powers.

"That is right in their food area. Catch a rat that is especially slow, they feed it to those fragile chicks, they will be poisoned and we call that secondary poisoning,” said Dr. Pilar Fish, the director of veterinary medicine at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh.