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We've Got Rats

Buffalo, we have a problem: rats!

Why isn’t anyone talking about it? More bad press for Buffalo? Can’t believe your eyes? They’re not big enough to be really scary?

I had coffee at SPoT on Elmwood Friday evening and a rat (10 inches long?) was running, with occasional stops to scratch, back and forth between the sidewalk planting and the tree at the end of the deck. What the…? Is it just me?

I first noticed them when walking around the back corner of my house to turn on the hose, when a rat ran under my foot as I stepped down. Eeek, crunch, dead rat. Thrilled at first at my cosmic luck, I remembered seeing something flashing across the yard near my compost. Aha, the compost! I have a homegrown system with garbage cans sans bottoms—never a problem with large animals in past 10 years. I quickly seized the moment and wrote Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, asking him to bring back the subsidized composter program. Next I get an email from the city ratologist, who asked whether they could come and put out bait. A lady ratologist came and found the holes they had drilled into the foundation of my garage, then said I had two weeks to get a legitimate composter or a ticket.

That way 2.5 weeks ago. So I have a new composter now and the rats are still eating my heirloom tomatoes. My neighbor has no tomatoes and kills rats with his BB gun regularily.

Does Artvoice care to mobilize the community? I figure they are coming out for the water but there must be something we can collectively do to retard them. It is, after all, a public health issue and needs someone’s attention.

Second topic:

The level in the lakes is at or below the historic low. When should we start to conserve water? Just because we have fresh water, do we have to ignore our responsibility to be good stewards? As you know, the Southwest will be coming for our water in the not so distant future. Can we get people involved and invested? I’d like to see everyone involved in protecting and maintaining our God-given natural resource and hugely valuable asset.

> Jennifer Gottdiener, Buffalo

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