The Light in the Attic

3712 -edited- St. NW Washington, DC 20007
January 14, 2002 12:23 a.m.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. M___________,

  We, the tenants of 3712 -edited- St., are writing to inform you that squirrels have been found in our attic. As you are out of the country at the time of this letter, we are taking the appropriate steps to protect your property, and to ensure our comfort and the security of our belongings. This letter will serve as official notification of those steps.

  Starting the night of January 11, loud scratching noises were heard in the ceiling in the rightmost upstairs bedroom -- noises so loud that the room's occupant began sleeping in another room.

  These noises continued, largely at night. On the night of January 13 at approximately 11 p.m., after hearing more scratching, we went into the attic to investigate. We found a large hole in the northeast corner that apparently had been "patched" by filling a garbage bag with styrofoam packing peanuts and placing it in the hole. In moving closer to examine the extent of the hole, we were startled by moving, furry bodies. We left the attic and called the animal shelter.

  At approximately midnight, Officer C____ S_____ of the District of Columbia Animal Shelter arrived. After examining the attic and the exterior of the house, Officer S_____ reached the following conclusions:

1) The noises were being made by a family of squirrels, who had established a nest under the attic floorboards in the previously mentioned hole.

2) The probably point of entry was the hole in the attic, which leads to a corresponding hole on the exterior of the house, clearly visible from the road. Officer S_____ described it as "one of the worst" she'd seen this winter.

  As there was an exterior exit for the squirrels, Officer S_____ was unable to trap the squirrels the evening of the 13th/morning of the 14th. However, she made the following recommendations:

1) A professional contractor would need to plug the existing hole, both from the inside and especially from the outside. This contractor should ensure (by playing a radio, making noise, and by a physical examination) that the nest is cleared of squirrels before the work is done, to avoid having one or more squirrels trapped inside.

2) The same contractor should also examine the rest of the attic, as it is likely that there are other areas that could also be potential entry points.

  In the interim, Officer S_____ recommended that to deter the squirrels from continuing to nest, we attempt to patch the hole as best we can with steel wool, scatter mothballs around the hole and any other suspicious areas, and, if necessary, play a radio in the attic to fool the squirrels into thinking the attic was occupied.

  If, after the hole had been patched, we are still experiencing problems with the squirrels, Officer S_____ recommended that we call the Animal Shelter again, at which point an officer would be dispatched to trap the animals.

  In anticipation of a more permanent solution, we are following Officer S_____'s directions. Your prompt attention to this matter is requested.

The tenants of 3712 -edited- St.