September 11, 2008

Griggs & Browne Hired to End Rat Infestations

By David Scharfenberg

CRANSTON -- A rodent control company has begun inspecting and treating homes and businesses in the northeastern section of the city in a bid to control a much-bemoaned rat problem.

Providence-based Griggs & Browne has surveyed about 1,400 of some 5,600 properties that are to be examined by the end of the month, according to Anthony M. Sylvia, the city's director of public works.

Crews have sprayed a rodenticide at about 10 percent of the properties, Sylvia said.

"This is intended to be a quick and effective measure," he said.

A long-festering concern over the critters burst into the open this summer when City Council Vice President Paula B. McFarland began complaining about the city's rat control efforts on behalf of residents in the Cranston Stadium neighborhood.

When she did not get a response to her liking, she invited constituents to turn out and complain at a City Council meeting in late July.

Mayor Michael T. Napolitano said the city's rodent control coordinator, Steven Iacobucci, was working diligently to visit residents who called with complaints -- dispensing poison and advice.

But he promised to ramp up enforcement against homeowners and business owners with unkempt property.

And talk of bringing in a private rodent control firm quickly surfaced.

Griggs & Browne began inspecting properties in the Stadium, Knightstville, Rocky Hill and surrounding areas on Sept. 3.

Sylvia said the company, expected to be paid $30,000 to $35,000 for the work, will make follow-up visits to properties in need of more treatment after the first round of inspections is complete.

Residents, who must sign off on treatments, are advised to keep pets and children away from sprayed areas.

Susan Sears, who has had substantial problems with rats in her back yard on Jordan Avenue, said she is "very pleased" the city has hired Griggs & Browne.

Sylvia said he will propose a city ordinance requiring homeowners to put all trash bags in barrels, rather than simply leaving them on the sidewalk for pick-up.

He said he would also press for an ordinance requiring business owners to place rat traps around Dumpsters.


Roger Sears, in the backyard of his Jordan Avenue home in July, displays one of the 30 rats he said he had killed over the previous three months. Photo by Susan Sears [email protected] / (401) 277- 8114

Originally published by David Scharfenberg, Journal Staff Writer.

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