Home that Became Haven for Rats Razed

A Spring Valley home that had become a haven for rats was torn down and cleared away this week, after the County took the extraordinary step of going to court to require it to be demolished.

County departments worked for years with the home’s former owner to get rid of the problem. Neighbors also sought help from County Supervisor Dianne Jacob.

Eventually the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) went to court, first to get access to the private property, then to inspect the inside of the home and finally to seek an order to tear it down.

DEH inspectors exterminated the hundreds of rats that once lived inside the house over the last year. But even though the house was cleared of the rats, DEH said it needed to be demolished because there was no way to keep new rats from re-infesting it. The property’s new owners, an investment group, paid for the demolition and cleanup.

Work crews started the demolition Monday after putting up fencing, plastic sheeting and using water to keep dust and debris down. The crews had cleaned the property completely, leaving nothing but the home’s cement slab foundation, by Thursday evening.

Exterior of the house before demolition.

Interior of house before demolition.


Gig Conaughton is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact