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Building, Health Departments Tackle Water St. Rat Problem

The town's Building and Health departments are dealing with a rat infestation on Water St. that Health Agent Paul Mazzuchelli said may be due to a rooster and guinea pigs kept on an adjacent property. Gina Puglia of 60 Water St. went to the June 5 Board of Health meeting to complain about the rats, saying, "I'm afraid to get out of my car."

Before that meeting, Erika Robertson, the town's Assistant Zoning Enforcement Officer, and Health Inspector Steve Garabedian had been to the site, Puglia said, but noted the problem was ongoing. Garabedian wrote a letter to her landlord asking him to tell another tenant to stop feeding stray cats, as the food he left out was attracting rats, she said. Robertson is addressing the animals next door, Puglia added.

Mazzuchelli told the Board of Health that rats need three things to survive: food, water and shelter. "It's not one property, it's a neighborhood problem," he commented. Puglia thought the rats were living in a large firewood pile located on the grounds of her apartment.

After inspecting 60 Water St., Mazzuchelli said it "is in good sanitary condition" and the wood pile consisted of "neatly stacked cord fire wood." While the wood pile may be where the rats are living, it is not their cause, he said. "The food source is what is attracting these rodents. The area and source of attraction appears to be the neighboring property (62 Water St.). A rooster and guinea pigs were found on this neighboring property. Zoning is aware of these issues and sanitation conditions will be addressed," the health agent said.

Robertson told the Town Crier that both departments are writing to the property owner of 62 Water St. to address any violations found there and let the owner know what options there are to correct them.

Through social media postings, residents of lower Purchase St. recently complained about rats in their area.


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