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Protect the Eagles

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Selectman Panetta suggests that Board of Health explore alternatives to rat poison, like electronic rodent traps

  The recent death of a bald eagle that ingested rat poison in Arlington has town officials in Saugus considering a more environmentally friendly way to attack the rodent problem.

  “Our town would be up in arms if we saw dead eagles,” Board of Selectmen Vice Chair Debra Panetta told Board of Health members at Monday night’s (March 6) meeting.

  Panetta said she was concerned that Saugus could face the same situation as Arlington because it uses rat poison in pest control efforts. “Perhaps there is something we can do as opposed to poison boxes,” she said. “We do have bald eagles in our town,” she said.

  Panetta said she he heard the City of Malden has a rodent control program that does not use rat poison.

  Board of Health member Maria Tamagna, who works as a public health nurse for the City of Malden, said the city employs a contractor who uses electronic rodent traps. When the rats enter the trap, they are electrocuted. She said it has proven to be an effective program for the city

  “I’m certainly open to the idea,” Board of Health Director John Fralick said, adding “if we do have alternatives that leave behind less residual poison.”

  Fralick said he would consult with the City of Malden health director to learn more about the program.

  During Monday night’s meeting, Panetta also asked Fralick for an update on the rundown Karla’s Shoes building on Route 1 South, just before the Main Street exit to Wakefield. The building has already been marked by the Saugus Fire Department with an x, designating it a public safety risk. “If a piece of it falls onto Route 1, it’s going to cause fatalities,” Panetta said.

  “It’s a huge safety concern,” she said, adding that the town needs to take some kind of action.

  Fralick said he agrees that the building is “definitely an imminent hazard” to pedestrians and squatters who may try to enter the building. The building needs to come down, but efforts have been slowed down by “a delusions of grandeur type situation” where the owners think they can get money by selling the property.

  “The property may be more valuable as an empty lot,” Fralick said. “We’re trying to take as much action as we can.”

  Noting that the building is covered with graffiti, he said officials may rely on the town’s anti-graffiti regulations to take the owners to task and force cleanup of the property. “They’re going to have to do some kind of work,” he said.

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