A dead rat festers in a parking lot in Milford July 22, 2021. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / BDN

After rats seemingly terrorized Milford residents for weeks earlier this summer, the fire chief said a resident has cleaned up a potential food source for the rodents at the town’s insistence and no new complaints have come in.

It’s been two weeks since the last rat complaint, Milford Fire Chief Josh Mailman said Friday. That’s the longest stretch in a while, he said.

Milford has been dealing with an onslaught of rats over the summer, with residents killing and capturing them by the dozens for several weeks.

Two weeks ago, the town’s local health officer sent a letter ordering a local property owner to clean up a likely food source for the vermin after it was discovered that the Pine Street homeowner had been feeding wildlife.

The homeowner’s pile of corn and sunflower seeds was approximately 20 feet wide and a foot deep, Mailman said.

One resident installed a game camera near the food pile to see which animals it attracted, and so far it has captured images of deer, coyotes, bears and “a lot of rats,” the fire chief said.

Rats and deer comb through a pile of food in Milford, Maine. Credit: Courtesy of Milford Fire Department

The fire department recently visited the property to see if the homeowner had cleaned it up, and most of the food source had been cleared from the person’s yard, Mailman said.

While rats have the potential to spread disease and destroy property, the other animals caught feeding off the pile are cause for even greater concern, said Mark Latti, a spokesperson for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Feeding wildlife in a residential setting like Pine Street in Milford can cause many problems, including an increased risk of rabies and other diseases, Latti said in August. There’s also a heightened risk of dangerous encounters between humans and wildlife that feel threatened.

For now, Mailman said he’s waiting and hoping with fingers crossed that the dark shadow of a rat infestation has moved on from Milford.

 

Sawyer Loftus

Sawyer Loftus is a reporter covering Old Town, Orono and the surrounding areas. A recent graduate of the University of Vermont, Sawyer grew up in Vermont where he's worked for Vermont Public Radio, The...