Officials Tell Residents of City’s Programs To Address Rat Problem

Whether you live in East Boston, Beacon Hill, Back Bay, or Jamaica Plain, there is a common problem that all residents are facing — and that is rats.

“It is a big issue,” Inspectional Service Director (ISD) Director John Ulrich told the members of the Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association in East Boston last week.

Ulrich said that the 14 ISD inspectors are on the city’s streets starting at 4 a.m., ticketing residents and businesses for violations of the sanitary code, baiting sewers, and doing pest control at local parks.

However, the biggest driver of the rat explosion is food that is left uneaten.

“Food over everything,” is what needs to be controlled, Ulrich said. But it is not just food.  Bird feeders overflowing and dog waste also needs to be picked up, not to mention trash should be stored and placed in secure barrels.

Ward 1 Councilor Gabriella Coletta noted that she and the city council have earmarked extra money in the budget for the ISD to fight this problem.

“Residents are lucky that elected officials care about people,” Ulrich said, noting that these extra funds will go a long way to combating this problem with additional staff and tools. He also mentioned that the ISD is mapping all of their work and are constantly looking for trends.

One resident thought that the city should enforce the ordinance that all trash be stored in barrels. Ulrich noted that that is a Department of Public Works question and if the food on the street is reduced, then that will help with the rodent problem.

He also said that work probably needs to be done on the sanitary code since there is no fine amount assigned for a violation.  He said that under the present law, the person who receives a ticket has seven days to appeal to the administration and then to the housing court.

He asked residents that if they see activity in their yards to get a licensed exterminator and if that does not work, call 311.

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