More than 100 rats and 50 ratholes found near Fenway properties

Boston,MA 07/19/07 In the Fenway, Globewatch complainant points out that open and overflowing dumpsters behind Queensberry Street apartment complexes are attracting winged and four-legged scavengers. Adult and juvenile rat emerge from under dumpster. Dumpsters here are directly behind 104 and 106 Queensberry in a common parking lot, but service several apartment complexes around this lot. (George Rizer/globe staff) section:metro Complaints about Norway rats wiht small ears sharp claws and long tail have doubled. Library Tag 10172007 Library Tag 12232010 Globe North 1,2
The culprits at the site on Hemenway and Haviland streets are believed to be Norway rats, like these, which were captured on film by a photographer for the Globe in 2007 in another part of the Fenway area.
George Rizer for The Boston Globe

After numerous complaints from residents in the Fenway area, the city’s Inspectional Services Department discovered more than 100 rats and 50 ratholes around two properties, officials said Thursday.

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- 08/09/2012 -- Boston mayor Thomas Menino, center, and Director of Environmental Services John Meaney, right, talk about the rodent infestation at 26 Hemenway Street Thursday afternoon in Boston. Brian Feulner for the Boston Globe
Mayor Thomas M. Menino spoke to the media Thursday at the scene. (Brian Feulner for The Boston Globe)
The Boston Globe

Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who visited the buildings in Hemenway and Haviland streets, called the infestation “the worst conditions we’ve seen in many years.”

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The rats are not just unsightly, Menino said, they pose serious health risks by spreading germs and possibly biting people.

“We don’t tolerate that in the city of Boston,” Menino said.

The rats are concentrated in a wide alley behind the two abutting properties. Burrows could be seen there this afternoon dotting the pavement and swaths of mulch.

John Meaney, the city’s director of environmental services, said the city first became aware of the problem when inspectors noticed rats scurrying in and out of both ends of the alley.

The inspection department also received complaints from residents.

“Geographically, it’s so small here that they’re spanning out into the neighborhood,” Meaney said.

Meaney said he was astonished when he visited the alley Wednesday night and saw dozens of rats running in and out of the burrows in packs, fighting, climbing into trash cans, and crawling over his shoes.

“They’ve got control of these two pieces of property like you wouldn’t believe,” Meaney said.

Meaney said inspectors have not yet determined if the rats have compromised the building’s foundation. Owners of both properties were served abatements ordering them to take action to rid the area of rats. If they don’t respond, Meaney said, they may be fined as much as $350 per day.

The buildings at 26 Hemenway St. and 24 Haviland St., in an area heavily populated with students, are owned by Fenway Residential Property and Boston Properties Management, respectively.

A woman who answered the phone at Fenway Residential Property this afternoon said the company had no comment. Messages seeking comment from Boston Properties Management were not immediately returned.