STATEN ICELAND, NY – As soon as you step out of your car on Silver Lake Road, a quiet block just off Forest Avenue in Silver Lake, you are immediately met by a terrible smell.
There are no trash cans in sight. All of the houses, many of which are new, look clean – some are decorated for fall and Halloween – and the lawns are well-maintained.
You don’t know where the stench is coming from until you reach a specific house on Silver Lake Road.
Neighbor Matt Tinacci, who bought a house on the block in 2016, said he wasn’t aware of the issues next door until after he bought the house and moved in with his family, a wife and two young children.
His neighbor Richie Tinsdale has hundreds of rats in his house.
“The neighbor on the other side drew my attention to what was happening. She’s been doing it for at least 15 years and it’s only gotten worse, ”Tinacci told Advance / SILive.com on a sunny day outside the home.
The smell, said Tinacci, hurts the whole neighborhood. It’s even worse on hot summer days or when there is wind.
Beth McClean, who lives across the street, said residents on the block tried to take matters into their own hands but had no luck correcting the situation.
“The smell is amazing, even across the street. It’s like a losing battle for us. It’s so scary; it’s awful, ”said McClean.
Tinsdale has rat trap cages in his house and releases them in his garden, where they eventually end up in neighboring courtyards. At the same time he feeds the residents of his house, said neighbors.
“We can’t enjoy our home. When we want to sit outside [front] Veranda, when the wind is in the right direction, the smell … embarrassing to have company. There are flies. We can’t use our garden, ”said Tinacci.
OWNERS ARE AWARE OF THE PROBLEM
Tinsdale is aware of the problem to some extent.
He told Advance / SILive.com that an employee from the city’s Department of Health (DOH) visited the house last week and said he had to be removed from the house for at least two days in order for the house to be cleaned.
Tinsdale said he would, but neighbors said they were skeptical.
“THE CITY IS DIFFERENT”
Tinacci and McClean both said they had made numerous calls to the DOH, Department of Sanitation (DSNY), NYPD, and Adult Protective Services along with other residents of Silver Lake Road – all with no luck.
“The real story is the fact that the city has completely failed its work on all levels. They let the community down, they let this man down. 311 is a joke. We have called countless times. We reported the rats, the stench and nothing, ”said Tinacci.
The authorities have responded to complaints, but have not been given access to the house, so that they are limited in their options for action.
Since this is a pest control issue, the DOH is the city authority that would report any violation.
A DOH spokesman said the agency responded to the house three times following complaints.
“During three inspections, the health department found no evidence of pest infestation on the outside of the property, but we were refused entry to the residence. The department plans to conduct another inspection this week and if we are refused entry again we will take additional measures, ”the spokesman said.
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