Oh, rats!
District Assemblywoman Christine Pellegrino addressed a rat infestation to a packed house at the West Islip Public Library.

IB/Chalifoux

Oh, rats!

Story By: RICK CHALIFOUX
8/24/2017


Last week, 9th District Assemblywoman Christine Pellegrino hosted an open town hall meeting at the West Islip Public Library to address a significant concern among many local residents in the area – an ongoing rat infestation in surrounding neighborhoods.

The meeting stemmed from a multitude of complaints received by Pellegrino’s office from residents asking for assistance with the burgeoning issue. It featured a question-and-answer session with local officials and public service agency representatives, notably the Suffolk County Department of Health Services.

“Solutions presented by the Department of Health focused on what individual residents can do to get rid of rats on their properties,” said Pellegrino. “We also discussed state and local government action to remove infestation on zombie properties and increased coordination to give town and county governments access to state property,” she continued.

The issue first began for some residents up to four years ago, but came to the forefront this past June when Pellegrino’s office was first made aware by her constituents. 

In particular, neighbors are especially wary of rats posing a threat to their pets or children, finding their way into homes while gravitating towards warmth once the weather turns colder, property damage, and the transfer of infectious diseases.

Suffolk County Department of Health Services officials have stated that rats could possibly be migrating from a different yard with a recently diminished supply of food. They often gravitate towards other yards in search of resources. Attendees of last week’s meetings were supplied with pamphlets with general information on rat control procedures.

In turn, a number of homeowners have resorted to installing traps in order to capture substantial numbers of rats in their yards. 

“Although West Islip is not the only town being affected, it is inspiring to know how many members of the community came out to acknowledge something needs to be done,” said Pellegrino in an ensuring social media post. “[I’m] looking forward to hosting more town halls and working together to find solutions.”

Incidents involving rodent infestation can be directed to the Suffolk County Department of Health Services at (631) 852-5900.

To learn more about how to manage and prevent rodent problems, visit https://www.cdc.gov/rodents.