'Rat Boom' Besieges NJ Town

Rats are running wild in Waldwick, New Jersey, with one resident saying she's killed dozens of rats in weeks. Ida Siegal reports.

(Published Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017)

Residents in a New Jersey suburb have seen an alarming increase in rats and are calling for the town to exterminate them.

Locals in Waldwick have been setting up traps in attempt to mitigate the recent rat infestation – but they have been largely unsuccessful.

“(The rats are) totally unexpected and I'm pretty disgusted because we pay taxes here,” Waldwick resident Gary Nicolosi said.

Lucy Wanklin had seen the direct effect of the rodents on her beloved tomato garden.

“So far in the last, maybe two to three weeks, we’ve caught – on this piece of property – 43 rats,” Wanklin said.

The reason why the rats may be so difficult to catch is because the source remains a mystery.

Borough officials say they’re unsure of where the rats are coming from, but they believe nature will take care of the problem on its own.

In the meantime, they have been passing out fliers to residents, instructing them to eliminate their food source.

“Humans tend to do things that bring in animals they don’t want. Maybe we have to use exterminators for a few but we are not overrun with rats,” Carol Tyler, a Waldwick Animal Control officer said.

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Despite the borough’s beliefs, locals speculate the rats are coming from the Russo Development construction project down the block.

While the developers contest that the rats originate from their site, they have hired pest control as a precautionary.

“Whether it’s coming from our site or not, the last thing we want is for people to have a rat infestation in our town. So we’re definitely working on that,” Ron Simoncini of Russo Development said.

Now, residents are calling for Waldwick to take similar precautionary measures of its own.

“Take some of that tax money and get exterminators in here,” Wanklin said.

Unfortunately, against her wishes, the town currently has no plans to call in an exterminator.