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More than 70 bats captured inside Centerville elementary school

Published May 23, 2012 7:44 am

Centerville • Up to 75 animals removed in a month, but principal says, "We feel good about where we are."
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Stewart Elementary School is in the migratory flight path of bats, said Vonzaa Hewitt, the school's principal.

But lately, the bats seemed to have been making a home inside the Centerville school.

"We have removed approximately 70 to 75 bats from the school in about a month's time," said Jamie Stell, lead animal control officer for Davis County Animal Care and Control.

No children have come in contact with the bats, school officials said.

Stell said it's not clear how bats were getting into the building, but she believes there is a colony of bats that have been crawling from the roof and into the school. Some have been found in classrooms or hallways during school hours, but most have been relocated or, if they are sick, humanely put down after school hours, she said.

"Over the years, we have removed bats from that school but not to this extent," Stell said, adding that this past weekend some bats were found "flying around the halls," on the floors looking sick or dead.

Hewitt confirmed while some bats were found during school hours, the majority were discovered in the morning before children had arrived. She said school officials called a pest-control company last weekend and were told the school does "not have a bat infestation."

"We feel good about where we are," Hewitt said, adding she believes the bats are no longer an issue.

Clint Thacker, director of Davis County Animal Care and Control, said the frequency and volume of the bats indicate this is more than an isolated incident.

"This is a lot more than a small problem or happenstance," Thacker said. "If there is a bat crawling around the floor in the middle of the day, that is a problem."

Call animal control if you spot a bat, Thacker says, and don't touch the animals as they may have rabies.

cimaron@sltrib.com

Twitter: @CimCity