City Councilman Alfred E. Vellucci has called for a full-scale investigation of a newly uncovered rat menace in Cambridge. He said that he had gotten "several complaints" that homes in the River St. area, particularly near the Charles River, are becoming infested with rodents.
"I don't know whether these are muskrats from the Charles," he said, "or just plain ordinary rats, but some of the neighbors have told me that they are nearly as big as cats."
Vellucci said he is certain the complaints are legitimate. "Not long ago," he said, "I happened to be present when Cambridge police shot a large rodent between two houses in the River St. neighborhood."
River Street crosses the Charles River about half a mile beyond Dunster House. Vellucci said that he had also received complaints from people in the Magazine Beach district, which is about a mile down the Charles from Dunster.
Vellucci speculated "there is a possibility that they may be coming from the MDC draining project underway at Magazine Beach, or then again they may be from anywhere along the river. At any rate they are most certainly a health hazard and people of that neighborhood are frightened."
Although some Cambridge citizens assert that the rats--or whatever they are--come from the Charles, some have suggested that they come from Boston, where demolition of buildings is taking place. "At any rate," Vellucci said, "we should find out, and curb what threatens to a bigger problem."
"Building wreckers here and in Boston should take every precaution to prevent these rodents from traveling," he said. "And if the rodents are from the sower project at Magazine Beach, it is up to the MDC to take steps."
Vellucci indicated that he will confer with Dr. Benjamin Sachs of the Cambridge Health Department, with the State Health Dept., and with the MDC "with a view in mind to finding a solution to this dangerous, unhealthy problem."