Poisoned chickens left around Northeast DC apartment complex, community members claim

Imagine poisoned chickens being left in your neighborhood. A few DC community leaders tell FOX 5 they are dealing with just that and more at Mayfair Mansions, a large apartment complex located on Hayes Street in Northeast DC.

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Those activists claim a management company for the complex allowed a pest control company to address rodent concerns by taking whole chickens, akin to those you’d find in a supermarket, filling them with poison and leaving them around the Northeast D.C. community.

Those same concerned community members also allege the chickens were placed in drains that let out into the Anacostia River.

This issue was among several quality-of-life concerns raised at Mayfair Mansions. Others include a lack of response to mold and broken security gates. However, the chicken allegations appeared to have been a tipping point.

At least one other person connected to the complex told FOX 5, claiming they were a witness to the pest control company’s actions. A community activist says the property’s surveillance system footage of the pest control’s actions dates back to late October.

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"Instead of putting it in common areas where people can’t just get to it, they were putting it where anybody, kids, anything could touch it. And then when I found it chickens down in the drain and putting poisons inside the chickens, that really just took me to another level," said Mayfair Mansions Tenant Association President Melissa Stewart.

"We’ve been reaching out to DCRA, HUDD, Attorney General’s office. Everybody needs to come together and help because people around here are suffering. And it’s not fair when people are paying their rent, and they’ve got to live like this. And then the holidays are coming up and your place’s not decent," Stewart added.

The community activist involved shared a few photos with FOX 5. One of them purports to show poison left out on the side of a step that leads up to one of Mayfair Mansion’s apartment buildings.

On the poison chicken allegations, a source shared an email from a DC Health official addressed to other DC government colleagues.

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The email, dated Dec. 16, says DC Health’s Rodent Control Team was treating the area until, "…learning of the contamination of dead chickens with rat poisoning and other outrageous practices," that involved pest control contractors hired.

The email goes on to say that the DC health official repeatedly reported findings and issued fines "to no avail" and that DC Health has stopped treatment until DC Police and the EPA investigate, not wanting to "risk liability and embarrassment to DC Health and the DC Government …."

A spokesperson with the Environmental Protection Agency confirmed the federal agency is looking into the matter with DC’s environmental agency. DC Health has not yet answered questions from FOX 5 regarding the previous citations and legal issues on this matter.  

DC Health released the below statement to FOX 5 DC Decemeber 23: 

"DC Health issued a Notice of Abatement on 3/29/2021 requesting a copy of their pest control contract and providing guidance about cleaning the area around the dumpsters and closing the lids of the dumpsters."

The following fines were issued, according to DC Health: 

  • 11/19/2019 Notice of Infraction was issued for the trash containers not being maintained $500
  • 6/8/2021 Notice of Infraction for trash $2000
  • 6/15/2021 Notice of Infraction for trash $2000
  • 7/30/2021 Notice of Infraction for trash $1000

 "DC Health Rodent and Vector Control initially received an email about issues at the Mayfair Mansions property back in May 2021. We were advised by the management company that they have a pest control company, but they service the inside of apartments. DC Health asked them to provide us with a copy of their contract for pest control for the outside area. We also requested a meeting with the management and the maintenance team, the meeting didn’t take place due to the change in management companies. DC Health Rodent and Vector Control team attended a community walk with Building Blocks and other DC Agencies on June 17, 2021 and spoke with the management about pest control. Furthermore, we treated the rodent burrows with rodenticide on December 2, 2021.," the statement reads.

"DC Health does not issue citations to pest control companies and does not inspect or issue violations for mold. DC Health Rodent and Vector Control inspects and treats rodent burrows in public spaces and treats the exterior of properties when deemed a public health issue."

FOX 5 is aware of the pest control company at the center of the poison chicken allegations. We are not identifying that company just yet but did reach out for comment. FOX 5 also went to the company’s Maryland offices. We have not received a response yet.  

For neighbors, there’s quality-of-life concerns, health concerns and environmental concern if there is in fact poison seeping into the ground or area waterways.


FOX 5 did also speak with a spokesperson who provided a statement on behalf of the company responsible for Mayfair Mansions.

"Enterprise Residential, the company that took over property management of Mayfair Mansions in November 2020, is aware that there is a rodent issue and is working with local authorities and residents to investigate and address this," read the statement on behalf of Enterprise Residential.