Pesky Rats Run All Over Pelham Gardens

Local construction and poor management of a neighboring property has led to an infestation of rats in Pelham Gardens.

An empty, grass-filled lot on Astor Avenue and the ongoing reconstruction of Pelham Parkway has developed a rodent problem around homes on Eastchester Road between Pelham Parkway North and Astor Avenue.

Mike and Dell Franco, who live at 2223 Eastchester Road, and Dell’s brother Frank Tirabasso, who lives next door at 2225 Eastchester Road, say rats have appeared in and around their properties at all times of day for the last few months.

The three attribute the problem to the empty lot that sits behind 1464 Astor Avenue owned by Les Lerner of LAL Astor Avenue Management, as well as the reconstruction of Pelham Parkway which began in February.

Dell Franco said t’s getting to an unbearable point.

“We’re not saying the rats are coming from here, or from there, but there is a lot going on around our homes and the rats are always around,” Franco said. “The rats come on our properties, they sit on our fences, and they’re appearing more than ever. We can’t even keep our windows open without worrying that they will come inside the house.”

Tirabasso says the grass in the lot is only cut about twice-a-year and when it isn’t cut, the grass can reach as tall as their fences. On the morning of Saturday, May 28, the grass was cut and according to Dell Franco, that’s when the rats came out to play and she was forced to move her family barbecue indoors.

Her son Michael Franco was able to snap a few pictures of the rats sitting on the fence, which were right away sent to Councilman Jimmy Vacca, who has been dealing with the troubled property for years.

“Sure they cut the grass now, but the next time it’s going to get done is right before the weather starts to get cold,” Frank Tirabasso said. “Cutting the grass twice-a-year makes the problems worse and we’ve been chasing Lerner for three years about this. The high grass becomes a safe place for the rats to thrive and when it’s cut, they’re all over the place.”

Tirabasso also pointed out that the rodent bait traps in the lot were installed nearly three years ago, and are no longer effective.

Vacca has been in touch with Les Lerner and has arranged a landscaping crew, as well as an exterminating crew, to monitor the lot over the summer.

More from Around NYC