By Clint Confehr
Senior Staff Writer
A complaint about a "gopher rat" on the bread shelf in Wal-Mart resulted in state inspectors reporting that the "store is aware of (its) rodent problem," the complainant and public records state.
In response, Wal-Mart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling said the store has increased its efforts to protect the store from pests with aggressive steps to eliminate the issue. A pest control service now vistis the store daily.
During inspections by Eco-Lab, a drain was discovered, Whaling said and state Agriculture Department spokesman Tom Womack substantiated that as something "that may have provided access" for rodents.
The complaint about a "gopher rat" on the bread shelf was filed by Renee Crotzer, 35, of Columbia, a registered nurse who works in Lewisburg.
"I don't like being in the newspaper," Crotzer said, "but people have to know. I'm a country girl. I've had mice ... and in the wintertime they try to come in, but if you try to control the problem, you can take care of it.
"And a gopher rat in the bread aisle that's aggressive, that means he's been there a while," she said Tuesday night. After telling friends and associates about the rodent, she was told people have known about it, so she replied, "Why haven't you said anything... People don't ... want to be a tattle tale."
She told the Marshall County Health Department. Its restaurant inspector told the agriculture department because it inspects groceries. Inspectors Patty Musgrave and Ken Golden responded. The first inspection was April 26.
On April 24, Crotzer "reached to the back of the [bread] shelf. I always take the bread behind because I want the freshest bread," she said.
A rat came toward her on the shelf, the nurse said.
"It was a huge rat that didn't want me to get his bread," Crotzer said. "He didn't bite me, but it was pretty traumatic."
Musgrave reports the complainant as saying: "Store said already knew it had rats, said lady got bit yesterday," indicating Crotzer had been advised that a rat bit someone in the store.
"I found out," Crotzer said Tuesday, "a lady had been bitten the day ...for the rest of the story pick up a copy of the Marshall County Tribune