HEROD: Clearing up the confusion on local rats
The Standard has some explaining to do.
And if I have to be the person to smooth things over, so be it.
The potential confusion relates to a story that ran at the bottom of Page 3 in Thursday’s newspaper.
The headline read: Public health asked to find solutions to rat problems.
Directly under the headline were head shots of Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati and Niagara Falls Regional Coun. Selena Volpatti.
See what I’m talking about?
OK, sure, the story also had a main photo of some sort of rodent, which I’m guessing was a rat.
My concern here, though, is that there may well be readers who simply scan headlines, see the closest picture and then figure they’ve absorbed the gist of the story.
Clearly, they would have got the wrong impression in this case.
So, for those people and anyone else who made a quick judgment, let me say unequivocally that Diodati and Volpatti are not the rat problems.
Indeed, they are trying to resolve the rodent concern that apparently is a serious one in Niagara Falls and elsewhere in Niagara.
How serious? Well, according to Diodati, emboldened rats — apparently not knowing their place in society — are showing up “in nice areas” of Niagara Falls.
More specifically, they’re appearing “at barbecues while people are eating, and where children are playing,” the mayor said.
I can relate to this.
Last week, we decided to barbecue some burgers. We opened the lid to get things started and a rodent was making itself at home atop the grill.
Truth be told, I’m pretty sure it was a field mouse as opposed to a rat. But I really didn’t have time for a close examination.
Not wanting to fry the fella, we took apart the barbecue in search of it. No luck.
Finally, I just started rocking the barbecue back and forth, and within seconds the little bugger ran off into our yard.
Which is too bad. I should have tried to funnel him into the house. Then, public authorities might have been able to take action.
I base this on other information contained in the rat story, courtesy of Niagara Falls city Coun. Wayne Thomson, who, in earlier times, was a public health inspector with Niagara Region.
Information was revealed at a recent Niagara Falls city council meeting that the Region’s public health staff would not deal with a complaint about a rat in someone’s backyard, but would if the problem was inside the house.
“That was never the case before,” said Thomson.
Again, I can sort of relate to this.
Many years ago at an earlier house, we found a dead possum in our backyard. My wife phoned the humane society seeking its removal on the basis that it was dead and in our yard.
“Are you sure it isn’t just playing possum?” smirked the guy on the other end of the phone.
Great, hundreds of comedians out of work in the 1990s and a humane society employee was trying to be funny.
Bottom line: Picking up dead animals in backyards wasn’t humane society policy.
Anyway, Thomson’s assertion may become part of a future newspaper article on back-in-my-day lore.
As in, I remember when:
We had to walk two miles to school both ways uphill, usually in a blizzard.
Milk used to be delivered to our door.
Mass-produced Canadian beer had cachet.
Doctors made house calls.
Public health officials knew how to deal with rats.
Just be careful what photos run with the story.