Rat problem forces DeLand Family Dollar store to shut down



DELAND, Fla. - A DeLand Family Dollar store closed Thursday because rats have infested the building.
Family Dollar's headquarters shut down the South Spring Garden Avenue store.   
Channel 9's Mario Boone discovered this isn't the first time that the store has had problems.
Boone looked through inspection reports and learned that the DeLand store has had rodent problem since at least January of last year.
A sign on the front door of this store reads, "Registers down, store closed."  But Boone learned it was rats not registers that shut the store down.
A Channel 9 viewer sent Boone pictures, as proof.
"I saw big rats, this big, running around the back of the store," said customer Hezekiah Perry,
"It's hard to say, there could be hundreds," said landscaper Troy Overman.
Overman said he was brought in to mitigate the problem, which he said is caused by a drainage ditch and overgrown vegetation next to the store.
"They'll climb up the tree and go from the tree branches to the roof," said Overman.
Investigators with the Florida Department of Agriculture confirmed that they are looking into the problem. They told Boone this the first time for the DeLand store.
The same store has been ordered to stop selling food at least five times because of rat infestations since January 2013.

"I'm disappointed, you know. It's a shame to see something like that happen," said customer Gary Caruso.
"Even my girlfriend has called the corporation here because it was rat poop," customer Derrick McDonald said.
Boone contacted Family Dollar representative for comment. In a statement they said, "At this time, we are working with the owner of the property, pest control services and the Health Department to combat the problem. We have made the decision to close this location until the issue is resolved."