Rat Problems All Over

Watertown residents urged to work together to combat rat problem. Rodents spotted on several streets

Published  2:56 PM EDT Sep 22, 2012

WATERTOWN, Mass. —Health and pest control officials in Watertown say the community’s rat infestation can be solved if every resident and business owner works together to combat the problem.

At a town hall meeting on Thursday night, East End residents and business owners are being urged to hire extermination companies and rat-proof their properties.

According to Wicked Local Watertown, town officials started receiving complaints about rats on Kondazian Street, Coolidge Hill Road and Crawford Street in May. Since then, rats have also been spotted around Bigelow Avenue, Elton Avenue, Nichols Avenue, Quimby Street and Melendy Avenue.
The Board of Health issued order letters to residents of those streets whose properties appear conducive to rat populations. Health Department Director Steven Ward said the town has issued about 20 order letters so far.
Many people who attended the meeting said they were concerned that absentee landlords and irresponsible neighbors will exacerbate the rodent problem in their neighborhood.
“If I treat my property and my neighbor doesn’t, how is that effective for me?” asked Bill Patterson, a Kondazian Street resident. “You come in, you wipe out the burrows, you fix everything that needs to be fixed, and [the rats] are living next door.”
But town officials and pest control experts said if residents eliminate conditions conducive to rats on their own properties, rats will stay away.

Watertown officials said that this year’s proliferation of rats is unprecedented. Officials said that the mild winter of 2011 to 2012, as well as East End construction work, could have contributed to the burgeoning rat population.
“It’s only a handful of rodent sightings, usually, per year, and this year it’s exceeded a handful,” said Chief Environmental Health Officer Kristel Bennett.

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