Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Closed Ohio Plant Now Filled With Rats as Big as Cats (Updated)

Posted By on Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Rats are disgusting, so heres a super cute cat.
  • Rats are disgusting, so here's a super cute cat.

Update II: A local farmer named Richard Bonner bought the old liquid plant and promises to clean up the some 1.5 million gallons of rotting liquid that have bred mutant rats that will eat the earth. The news gave the Record-Pub occasion to include more than a few rat-tastic quotes and tidbits in the paper. Shall we?

He said though Fuerst stored milk, beer, soft drinks and other fluids in the outside holding tanks, most of the contents of those tanks was now rain water. He said he’s already been clearing the buildings of outdated foods, such as ice cream and candy bars, and has gassed “hundreds and hundreds of rats” using a fumigant from his farm.

“It was the dirtiest job I’ve ever done,” he said.

Nice. So he means war. No man who gassed hundreds and hundreds of rats in his day is going to play around with these rodents.

“They cut the wires on the fuse panels,” he said of the rats. “They’re living high on the hog now, but they won’t be for long.


Resident Dawn Jasinski said she dealt with “hundreds” of rats in her barn earlier this year, buying a 4 gallon drum of rat poison to deal with the problem. The poison she picked up at Wednesday’s meeting was for an elderly neighbor.

“They killed one of my chickens,” she said. “Then it was war.”

Wait, the rats actually killed a chicken? That can happen?


Update: The old U.S. Liquids plant in Nelson, OH, has a bit of a rat problem, as you can read below in our original story. Imagine the pile of ants on some spilled soda on a sidewalk on a summer day, and replace the ants with rats as big as cats, and that's pretty much the scene.

The problem is no one can agree on who should clean up the mess. Local officials, the Ohio EPA, and the health department are still trying to figure out how to finagle the funds to clean up the site, which houses some 1.5 million gallons of rotting stinky liquid.

For now, the surrounding neighbors who have to deal with the mutant rats who wander away from the plant are left to fend for themselves. The best short-term solution that the Portage County Health Department can come up with: give rat poison away to residents.

Via the Record-Courier:

Health Commissioner DuWayne Porter said up to three boxes of rat bait (with four trays of poison in each box) will be available to people in the immediate area of the closed plant.

Porter said he would be at the June 6 Nelson Township Trustees meeting to distribute the material along with safety information.

Residents will have to sign a liability release to get the bait, Porter said.

“They know where they want it on their property and whether or not they have animals that might get into it,” Porter said.

Um, good luck, folks.


For years, the fine folks of Nelson, OH, dealt with the putrid smells and ancillary problems coming from the U.S. Liquids plant. The operation, which closed last year, recycled a wide range of liquids — beer, pickling juices, etc.

Runoff from the plant turned surrounding waters delightful shades of the rainbow and smells from the funky liquid accumulator stank up the neighborhood to high heavens. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency told the owner he had to cease the smelly liquid business back in 2009, which is when he decided to bring in pigs. Naturally. Eventually the whole business shut down. The pigs left, but much of the food stockpiled to feed them, along with between 500,000 to 1,000,000 gallons of wastewater, remained.

Which is why Nelson, OH, shouldn't be surprised that the building has now become a farm for mutant rats feeding on the garbage dump.

Via the Record-Courier:

“You have never seen anything like it, garbage and filth and stench and rats. It’s just unreal,” Turos said.
“We’ve got a real mess on our hands up here,” said Nelson Trustee Joe Leonard. He said U.S. Liquids owner Mark Fuerst “closed the doors and walked away” when served with eviction papers late last year.
“It’s just one horrific indoor garbage dump,” Leonard said.
On recent tours of the facility, Turos and others spotted dozens of rats in the warehouses.
“The rats are big as cats — they just sit there and look at you,” Turos said.

The health department, local officials, and the OEPA tried to tour the facility — some made it in, some couldn't stand the smell — as they debate who should clean up the mess and how.

In the meantime, if anyone's looking to adopt a cat-sized rat, you now know where to find one.

Tags: ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation