PAWCATUCK Calling it a townwide problem, homeowners in the Courtland, William and Moss Street area are sounding the alarm about rats in their neighborhood.
On the Stonington Community Forum group on Facebook, Elise Dessaules Adcock, a resident of William Street, posted Monday that her family had killed seven rats so far and when officials from Ledge Light Health District, which replaced the towns health department in April, visited her home, they said Adcock would have to pay for eradication.
We thought notifying the town was a good thing, but when Ledge Light came out, we were told they are OUR rats and we had to hire someone to take care of the problem, she wrote.
Adcock posted a picture of a rat on her property and a hole where a rat ate through a wall in her garage. Adding that she has lived on her property for 20 years and never seen a rat, Adcock said, This isnt a cheap issue to deal with and its not going to solve the problem with only a couple of us trying to take care of it.
On the forum, Janice Meagher responded, But also nuts that the town isnt helping since it seems its a pretty widespread area that is impacted.
In early June, Ledge Light responded to complaints of a rat infestation at 1 Millan Terrace, owned by Terrance Holbrook and Ronald Kutz. Holbrook and his sister, Rebecca Holbrook, lived at the house, where she had been feeding rats with bird food. Ledge Light issued a public health order for a licensed exterminator to assess the home and take steps to eradicate the rats.
On June 9, Ryan McCammon, who is the supervisor of environmental health for Ledge Light, and First Selectman Rob Simmons held a public meeting for area residents at the police station to go over preventive and abatement measures since the rats were spreading into surrounding neighborhoods.
On June 12, McCammon said he went door to door in the surrounding neighborhoods, including Frank Street and homes nearby on Broad Street and Swan Street, to pass out information.
Simmons said the town would assume the initial financial burden, hiring Griggs and Browne, a licensed exterminator from Waterford, to do abatement work at 1 Millan Terrace. The firm initially removed about 50 dead rats from the property.
The rats, identified as Norway rats, burrow into holes in foundations and structures to make their nests, preferably close to available food and water. They typically weigh about three-quarters of a pound to one pound and their bodies are about 6 to 8 inches long with 6-inch tails. Since they can breed 12 times per year and have 8 to 12 young per litter, rats can populate an area within a very short period of time.
Several residents thought it was unfair that the town helped one family, but wouldnt assume responsibility for what has become a widespread problem.
Jess Beck Lomax wrote, They wont help you, but your tax dollars are paying for the clean up on Millan Terrance.
Adcock responded, Right and if only a couple of us are trying to take care of the problem, the problem isnt going to go away!
Lomax responded that Adcock should call a local news station or newspaper to bring attention to the towns financial assistance to one family but not to others.
Adcock said shed spent around $50-plus so far to take care of the problem, but now getting pest control in tomorrow which will cost around $200, plus $40 per month and thats a lower estimate since another place was going to charge us $350 to $450 dollars for 60 days!
Many residents on the Facebook forum also saw individual home exterminations and do-it-yourself remedies as a Band-Aid to a much larger problem.
Alzira M. Silveira said, Even if you do pest control and get rid of those rats if theyre in the neighbors yards as well wont they still come back to you?
Savage Jenny said the problem was more widespread.
Ive had Terminix at my house on Mechanic St. for over a month!!! According to them its also on the other side of the river in Westerly and takes up several streets.
Ant Miceli wrote the rats were on Morgan and Robinson streets as well.
Ive also heard that Westerly had a problem as well. Something must have changed in the river to be forcing them all up both sides of it.
I too think its a town issue, wrote Janet Knight, who said she saw one crossing the West Broad Street end of William Street last week.
Ant Miceli conveyed a message from Selectman Michael Spellman, who said he was aware of the rat issue that has seemingly developed overnight and exists in the Moss, William and Courtland Street area.
Ive called Town Hall and First Selectman Rob Simmons and ensured Ledge Light Health District will commence operations ASAP to address and mitigate the problem, Spellman said. In the interim eliminate any outside food source i.e. cat or dog food on your porch and keep garbage cans tightly sealed. Secure basements and ground level doors as well so you dont attract or harbor displaced or wandering rats. Do not feed rats under any circumstance as that will attract them. Rats can survive on an ounce of food and water a day and usually live within 1,000 feet of a food source. More ready food, more rats. Itll take a little bit but it will get fixed. Thank you all for contacting me so we can address this issue quick.
Adcock said she had also been in touch with Spellman and Simmons.
I know that this issue will get taken care of … but, if anyone has any issues, they should contact them at the town hall, she wrote.
For more information, contact McCammon at Stonington Town Hall at 860-535-5010. Information about rat eradication is also available at http://www.ledgelighthd.org.
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