Overgrown yard: 'Skunks and rats and wild cats'

UNION GAP, Wash. -- A bad neighbor is causing a lot of frustration for some people in Union Gap. It's a yard with weeds a couple feet high. So far, complaints haven't been able to change things.

Action News learned that code violations in Union Gap have gotten worse. So what can you do?

Plants out of control growing over the fence into another yard.

"Nobody should have to deal with this," said neighbor Al Mercer.

Mercer takes care of his yard, but it takes more time because he has to pull these weeds coming from the home next door.

Neighbors told KIMA they haven't seen anyone living here in almost two years.

"I just wish they'd clean it up because it's a mess, makes my yard look bad," he said.

Al said he tried to report the home but hasn't had luck. Action News pulled the numbers and found this place has a history.

Last year, six complaints were filed against it.

Neighbors said someone came and cut all the plants back then, but nothing since. Al worries about the fire hazard and more.

"Skunks and rats and wild cats," Mercer said.

Complaints like this in Union Gap aren't isolated. They went up by almost a third last year compared to 2011.

One thing that hasn't changed is the city's approach to code enforcement. Union Gap has one employee assigned to handle these problems and that's not his full-time job.

Trespassing laws leave Mercer in a position where he can only stand and watch.

"People are stopping and asking me if I know anything about it and I don't know nothing about it," he said.

KIMA tried to contact the homeowners several times, but was not able to find a working number.