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Rats on the rise in Lynn

LYNN – The population in Lynn is rising on a daily basis and the new residents are unwelcome.An increasing number of rats have been spotted throughout the city, feasting on uncovered trash and nesting beneath dilapidated front porches, resulting in residents that are biting mad.Inspectional Services Director Michael Donovan said the recent spike in rodent sightings across the city could be blamed on uncovered dumpsters, construction and unkempt residences.”I know that the Health Department has been investigating this situation every day since there is a large rat problem in the city,” he said. “Some communities require a hard barrel with a cover on top and I believe we are currently trying to adopt that ordinance and get it passed, because there is no need to reinvent the wheel.”Donovan said there currently isn’t an ordinance in place requiring residents to place a cover on their trash barrels, thus contributing to the rat infestation.”We have bait in place in public places and we go out to talk to people about the problem before we ticket them,” he said. “But the rats aren’t going to go for the bait if leftovers from Sunday’s dinner are out there on the street.”Chase Street resident Phyllis D’Eon said she is frustrated that her neighborhood off of the Commons has been overrun with large rats that have been feeding on exposed trash.”I just started noticing them again since the weather is getting a little warmer and there have been some that are dead in the street,” she said. “And they are enormous, fat rats. Some of them are the size of guinea pigs.”In an effort to combat the situation, the city has been inspecting neighborhoods and dropping bait boxes where evidence of rats has been found over the past three years.So far, the effort has been futile according to D’Eon who she said plans on contacting the city about the re-occurring problem.”People just need to take better care of their property,” she said. “This is stuff that everyone learned in kindergarten, to clean up after yourself. Just because you are of a lower income or don’t speak English well, it doesn’t mean you can’t keep up your property.”As a result of one specific untidy home, D’Eon said rats have nestled themselves underneath one of her neighbor’s front porch steps.”The people are good about keeping trash in their house and all, but their porch is dilapidated and the wood is rotten,” she said. “There is a motion detector on their porch and it goes off constantly because of all of the rats running by. It’s gross.”While rats have been spotted feeding near dumpsters and open trash containers, Donovan said they are also in places you wouldn’t expect.”Even just one uncovered dumpster at a restaurant creates a big problem and we have cited places and we have proof in citations and photos,” he said. “Whether construction has upset them or something else, 99 percent of the time it’s about cleanliness.”D’Eon said she fully supports the possibility of a new trash ordinance, especially since she would like to sell her house.”How can we sell a house when there are rat traps everywhere,” she asked. “It’s going to be a real problem.”

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