Cellphone video recorded in late May by a neighbor shows rats running around a Cape Cod backyard, but the rodent issue has continued into the winter.
The health director in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, is calling it the most difficult case he has ever dealt with.
"Now that [the rats] found a source of food and water, they've stayed right there," said Bruce Murphy, Yarmouth's health director.
Murphy says Judith Adelchi on Nauset Lane is to blame.
"She's feeding them on her property," he said.
"I personally have never seen rats," Adelchi contested.
According to Murphy, his department launched an investigation after receiving complaints from neighbors in the summer.
"I would never feed a rat purposefully," said Adelchi. "I would never do that. Who would do that?"
Murphy said he has been on the property several times and has seen numerous rats. He accuses Adelchi of trying to bait the rats with bird food.
"She said they were her friends," said Murphy. "She was lonely. She wanted to feed them as a source of her friendship to the animals."
The home is owned by Mark Pallantino, who is also related to Adelchi. According to court documents, he hired an exterminator, but the rats keep coming back.
Murphy sent a cease and desist letter to the home instructing Adelchi to stop feeding the rats, but the problem has continued.
That has forced the town to file a criminal complaint against Pallantino. He is facing three charges, including having unsanitary conditions and failure to exterminate rodents.
Pallantino is due in court on Jan. 3.