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As a registered nurse and mother, I am extremely concerned about the potential health danger that is lurking in my back yard and in many others in Western New York -- rats. This bacterial-carrying rodent has infested my neighborhood, resulting in multiple dog deaths due to Leptospirosis.

The other day, the Erie County Health Department came out and replaced my fully eaten rat-bait box for the third time. I am concerned that my dog will succumb to this potentially fatal bacterial infection, ultimately putting my family at risk. My daughter is allergic to penicillin, which is the current method of treatment for humans exposed to their pet's contaminated urine.

Unfortunately, I live in a town that has refused to amend its solid waste codes by banning the use of plastic garbage bags unless placed in a container with a lid. This is in direct violation of the Health Department's recommendations.

Our situation is destined to get worse should the department's Vector and Rodent Program be eliminated as projected if the 1 percent sales tax increase is not approved. Instead of contacting the Health Department with rodent complaints, residents would be forced to hire private exterminators. I urge local lawmakers to approve the sales tax increase so that the health and welfare of all county residents can be preserved.

Pamela Almeter, R.N.

Town of Tonawanda

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