‘Step in the right direction’ as city’s rodent complaints lessen

‘Step in the right direction’ as city’s rodent complaints lessen

PAWTUCKET – To this point in the year, the Pawtucket Zoning Department has received about half the number of new rodent cases at its desk compared to a year ago at this same time, says Director Bill Vieira Sr.

The progress is a positive development, says Vieira, but there’s still plenty of work to do in partnership with city residents.

“While this is a step in the right direction, we continue to be vigilant in our efforts to provide a clean and safe community for our residents,” he said. “We encourage all residents to call the Zoning Department with any issues so that we can work to minimize the problem as quickly as possible. We partnered with neighborhood groups on this issue and we thank them for their collaboration.”

In social media postings, city residents have reported fewer rat sightings overall.

According to city officials, there were 39 rat cases addressed from January to June of last year, and there were 19 for the same period this year.

The Zoning Department continues its efforts to minimize rodents, which Vieira noted has been an issue across the state, including areas in Pawtucket. In recent years, the Zoning Department has implemented a number of rodent control measures to help residents and businesses avoid rodent issues on their properties. The department previously implemented the e-rat program that provides for the digital tracking of rodent cases, bait stations for property owners who request them, and regular environmental inspection services that the department provides to help reduce rodent harborage.

Information on best practices to limit rodent activity is regularly distributed to a number of neighborhoods experiencing a higher volume of cases, according to Vieira. The city continues to partner with all residents to help mitigate rodent issues in the city.

Last year, the city hired an outside vendor, A&D Professional Pest Elimination, a Pawtucket-based business, to help curtail local rodent issues, with a major focus on areas that have been known to have higher cases, such as the Fairlawn neighborhood around the Grotto Avenue waste transfer station. Residents there last year blamed continued substandard conditions at the station for the proliferation of rats.

Neighborhood aesthetics are a big part of quality of life, but local housing ordinances exist for more than just aesthetics, said Vieira. High grass and other infractions leading to violations can attract rodents and other pests.

“These quality of life issues are why the city is so vigilant about inspections,” he said. “We don’t want to cite people, but we have to address these matters as quickly as possible to keep them from spreading, on behalf of all residents.”

Wilder Arboleda, spokesman for Mayor Donald Grebien, said all services related to rodent control are coordinated through the e-rat program, which allows the Zoning Department to better coordinate services in a proactive way.