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Rat Abatement Of Former Feed Mill Deemed Success

Chautauqua County Director of Environmental Health Mark Stow told members of the county Department of Health that a rat abatement of a former feed mill in Sherman has been successful. P-J file photo by Jordan W. Patterson

MAYVILLE — A rat abatement project in the village of Sherman appears to be working well.

Chautauqua County Director of Environmental Health Mark Stow briefed the board of health last week on recent progress with a rodent issue at the former Farmer’s Mill building.

“In collaboration with the village of Sherman I think we can probably put this in the success column,” Stow said. “Clearly this was a public health nuisance (and) clearly it needed to be addressed by this body because nobody was going to step in and do it. Clearly if we did not take any action it would have mushroomed into thousands of rats. Definitely it needed to be done.”

The county health department has worked in conjunction with the village, health officials from Erie County and Amherst Exterminators to address the issue, which arose after the mill declared bankruptcy and ceased operations on May 31, 2019.

Following an abatement inspection on Dec. 6, 2019, village officials were given permission to initiate clean-up all of the feed sources and grain refuse located around the building, which began on Jan. 9, 2020.

The plan was for officials to kill as many rats as possible before removing the food supply.

The process has included the use of snap traps, Liqua-Tox, Ditrac Tracking Powder and Contrac to decrease the rat population with officials recording reports on the number of live and dead rats as well as their burrows over the course of abatement.

“It turns out that these rats have been around for many, many years and the mill workers just dealt with them. So it is no surprise, when they left, there were no controls. The population kind of went unchecked,” Stow said.

The report notes that the village, in partnership with the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services Environmental Health Unit, will continue to monitor the abatement until the issue is deemed resolved.

Stow had not seen any evidence of the rats leaving the mill to go to other areas, which was not a surprise due to the amount of food located inside before removal.

“One of our attorney’s, Patrick Slagle, is working on recovering our costs for this operation,” Stowe said.

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