An owner of Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica is suing the city, claiming two dinosaur-shaped topiaries house rodents that roam nearby where people dine al fresco during the coronavirus pandemic.
EJA Associates LP, which owns a commercial building on the 1300s block of Third Street Promenade, alleges in the Santa Monica Supreme Court lawsuit filed Monday that the decorative figures are a public nuisance .
EJA, which rents storefronts to companies like Sunsations Travel Store and Hummus Bar Express, wants the city to strip off the ivy on one side and the jasmine on the other, replacing the screen underneath with a grille to keep rodents out . The plaintiff also says the rodents should be poisoned or captured.
Prosecutors and DTSM officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The dinosaur topiaries have been on the boardwalk since the mid-1980s and are owned and operated by the city and DTSM, a private, not-for-profit organization that works with the city to manage services and operations in the downtown area, manages, operates and maintains the lawsuit.
This spring, the plaintiff found that the topiaries “were infested with swarms of rodents that routinely ran in, out and around them in the early evening hours,” the suit claims. EJA believes that the rodents migrate through wire mesh and form the bodies of the topiaries, the holes of which are large enough to enter and build nests.
“Accordingly, the rodents that were allowed to reside in the cavities of the dinosaur topiaries often move … in close proximity to people present on Third Street Promenade, including … those who patronize and because of the restaurants physical distancing from COVID-19 sitting outside, “the lawsuit said.
EJA also assumes that rodents have migrated into nearby buildings and other surrounding buildings as well as into the alleys behind the promenade and, depending on the suit, caused significant damage to insulation, heating and air conditioning ducts.
EJA claims that rodents can also transmit disease to humans as they were the cause of the bubonic plague in the 14th century.
The DTSM manager asked the EJA officer not to contact the Los Angeles County Health Department about the rodent infestation because the “Promenade didn’t need bad news or PR,” the lawsuit said. The EJA official contacted the health authorities anyway and was informed in May that the “owner / person in charge had been informed of the allegations and instructed to make the necessary corrections” but so far nothing has been done by either the city or the DTSM about the rodent problem alleviate depending on the suit.