Brockton resident dealing with rat problem

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Oct 3, 2013 in Rat Answers | Subscribe

Oh rats!

T.J. Galvin said he couldn’t believe his eyes when, about two weeks ago, rats surfaced outside his Randolph Avenue home.

“I went out outside on the patio to start the grill. I heard something scurrying in the grill,” Galvin, 49, said. “It was big, brown and furry, and it ran by the back door.”

Since then, the rats have made themselves at home underneath his shed, said Galvin, who lives near the Brockton-Holbrook line. The animals are multiplying and leaving their droppings throughout the area, including on his grill, he said.

Galvin said he thinks the rats showed up as a result of road construction work being done in Holbrook.

“We got a big problem here,” said Galvin, who is gathering signatures in his neighborhood as part of a petition to get help for the problem from City Hall.

The rat problem in Brockton is nothing new, Board of Health Executive Director Louis Tartaglia said, adding that his office receives rat complaints regularly.

“There are rats around the city because there’s riverbanks and you’re going to see them,” Tartaglia said.

Construction and heavy rains that cause riverbanks to flood can disturb rat nests, and cause them to go elsewhere, he said.

Rats are more than a nuisance; they can carry several diseases, including Plague, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, Lassa Fever, Leptospirosis, Rat-Bite Fever, and Salmonellosis, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Board of Health does not bait for rats, but works with residents to educate them about staving off a rat problem, he said.

Rats are attracted to trash piles and open garbage cans. Residents are advised to cover trash barrels, to repair any cracks in foundations or window screens that the rodents can go through, and to not leave any water or food – including pet food – outdoors to curtail a rat infestation.

The city can cite and fine property owners who are not keeping up their properties, and people who own a Dumpster that is not being cared for properly, and adding to a rodent problem, Tartaglia said. Fines can range from $50 to $300.

Officials said the property owner is responsible for taking care of a rat problem.

Galvin said he purchased traps to catch the rats in his yard and in his shed. So far, it’s not working well, he said.

“I’m petrified of these things. I’m banging on the shed, nothing,” he said.

The rats, he said, aren’t small.

“I wear a size 12 wide shoe,” he said. “The biggest one is the size of my foot.”

Board of Health Code Enforcement Officer Bill Carpenter said he visited Galvin’s neighborhood this week and spoke to several residents. He also distributed fliers on how to curtail a rat problem.

“At the end of the day, the property owner is responsible for their property,” Carpenter said.

Maria Papadopoulos may be reached at or follow on Twitter @MariaP_ENT.

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