New York City is the only place facing an uptick in rat activity: South Orange Village Health Officer John Festa recently has been battling an infestation in the Sloan Street area in South Orange Village.
At the May 29 Board of Health meeting during the South Orange Board of Trustees meeting, Festa reported that he had successfully destroyed about 12 of 15 rat burrows in the area, and explained that the increase of rats was due to the fact that four eateries on Sloan Street — Cold Stone Creamery, Starbucks, Cate & Abby’s and the Village Diner — as well as Tito’s Burritos on South Orange Avenue had not been properly maintaining their rear garbage containers. This led to the 15 burrows as well as rats infiltrating the basement of SOPAC.
Festa said he had been fighting the rat infestation with the help of the township pest control contractor and that they had cut the burrows down to about three. Festa said that he was looking into using dry ice to destroy the remaining burrows as has been done in New York City recently — “if need be,” said Festa.
The health officer also reported that the Sloan Street area is “a lot cleaner now, but those five eateries have to maintain that area.” He noted that he as been “called down” to deal with garbage maintenance in the area five times in 7 years.
Village President Sheena Collum commended Festa, telling the Trustees, “Our health officer does an incredible job.”
[Editor’s Note: Many major cities, including New York, Philadelphia and Chicago are fighting rat infestations. Read The New York Times’ coverage here: “Rats Are Taking Over New York City,” May 22, 2019.]