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By Michael Auten

As of late more and more complaints have been filed to county health inspectors about increased sightings of rats in the Palisades Mall. The popular shopping center has had five complaints in the past few months about rats congregating around dumpsters, parking lots and even in stores. Health inspectors have received enough complaints to warrant an investigation.

Many shoppers are now less enthusiastic about as is expected. Procedures are already in place to reduce the infestation. Shop owners have placed rat traps in areas with high rat traffic and foods that might attract rodents are now stored better to keep out of reach of rats. Catherine Quinn, a public health associate with Rockland County, said, “It’s in the facility’s interest to make it clean, rats have a history of being vectors of disease, so it’s important not to have them be in contact with the public.”

Rodents are not part of the health department’s  inspection codes apparently. They are only part of inspections for restaurants and other food distributing centers. However the rat sightings were reported in areas of the shopping center not related to food. People are encouraged to report if they have seen rats in the mall and where they spotted them.

LeeMarie Dell’Accio is the marketing director for the mall. She seems confident about solving the problem in her statement, ” When issues arise and come to our attention, we immediately address them. At this point in time, we do not have any concerning matters. We would be happy to invite you on site to walk the property with us.” She is aware the shopping center is getting a lot of popularity in the wrong way. The mall was apparently already taking steps to remove the rodents before many consumer reports were being filed.

Shoppers were in for a surprise when they saw rats scurrying out from under trash cans  and in parking lots. Resident Alison Harvey from Sloatsburg said, It’s totally unacceptable to have rats running around in this day and age, we were going to eat at IHOP, but I told my husband, ‘No way!’ ” Those in charge know that such a problem as this needs to be rectified as so as possible or all stores and attractions in the shopping center will suffer a huge loss in  not only business, but reputation with its local customers.

The mall is rushing to get rid of the rats and needs the cooperation of both its customers and employees to remove the infestation. Nobody wants to buy something that was sitting around rats. After the rats are gone the mall will have to be inspected for another two months to make sure the rats are completely gone.

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