[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Health of the Borough of Hopatcong 12-21-1994. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to enact rules and regulations which will foster and advance the control of rats and mice in the Borough of Hopatcong, thereby furthering the public health, welfare and safety of the Borough's citizens and to provide penalties for violators.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the following meanings:
- ATTRACTION FOR RATS/MICE
- Any condition, such as exposed or unprotected foods, grains, garbage or liquid, which will attract and/or offer food for rats and mice.
- Any structure, whether public or private, that is adapted for occupancy or transaction of business; for rendering of professional services; for amusement; for the display, sale or storage of goods, wares or merchandise; or for the performance of work or labor, including but not limited to hotels, apartments, buildings, tenement houses, rooming houses, office buildings, public buildings, stores, theaters, markets, restaurants, grain elevators, abattoirs, warehouses, workshops, factories and all outhouses, sheds, barns or other structures on the premises.
- The person who has the use of or occupies a building or a part or fraction thereof, whether the actual owner or tenant. In the case of vacant buildings or any vacant portion of a building, the owner, agent or other person having custody of the building shall have the responsibility of an occupant of a building.
- The actual record owner of the building, whether an individual, a partnership or a corporation, or the agent of the building or other person having custody of the building or to whom the rent is paid.
- All vacant lots, lands, parks, yards, alleys, cellars and docks.
- RAT ERADICATION
- The elimination or extermination of rats or mice within buildings or premises in such a way that the buildings or premises shall be completely free of rats or mice and there is no evidence of rat/mouse infestation remaining, by any or all accepted measures, including but not limited to poisoning, fumigation or trapping.
- RAT/MOUSE HARBORAGE
- Any condition which provides a hiding place, shelter or protection for rats or mice, thus favoring their multiplication and continued existence in or upon any building or premises under or outside of a structure of any kind.
- RAT/MOUSE PROOFING
- A form of construction to prevent the ingress of rats or mice into buildings, apartments, sheds or other structures on the premises from the exterior or from one building to another. It shall consist essentially of treating all actual or potential openings in exterior walls, ground or first floors, basements, roofs and foundations that may be reached by rats or mice from the ground by climbing or burrowing with material impervious to rat and mouse gnawing.
All buildings or structures wherein foodstuffs are prepared, stored, kept, handled, sold or offered for sale shall comply with the regulations prescribed herein for the ratproofing and mouseproofing of buildings and structures, and no license from this Borough to conduct or carry on such a business shall be issued to any person until there has been compliance with the provisions of this section.
The permitting or allowing of any buildings, portions of buildings or premises within the Borough to be maintained in an unsanitary condition so as to become infested or liable to become infested with rats or mice is hereby declared to be a nuisance and unlawful.
The Health Officer or any other designated employee of the Borough shall be authorized and empowered to take whatever reasonable measures he deems necessary and to make unannounced and periodic inspections of the interior or exterior of any building, structure or premises for the purpose of determining its compliance with the previous subsections of this section.
In the event that it shall be determined that a building, portion of building or premises is not rat/mouseproof, rat/mouse-free or upon which a condition exists which offers harborage for rats or mice, a written notice or order shall be served upon the owner and, if other than the owner, occupant to abate and remedy the condition and to take such rat- or mouse-control measures as may be deemed necessary.
Upon receipt of a written notice or order from the Department of Health, the owner or occupant of any building, portion of a building or premises specified therein shall take immediate measures for correcting the conditions in the building or premises. If the work and improvements have not been completed in the time specified in the written notice or within the time established by a written extension granted by the Department, the owner or occupant shall be deemed guilty of an offense under the provisions of this section.
In the event that the owner or occupant of a building, portion of a building or premises fails, neglects or refuses to comply with the notice or order of the Health Officer, the Health Officer shall be authorized, at his discretion, to take such steps as may be necessary to ratproof or mouseproof and free the building, portion of the building and premises from rats or mice at the expense of the owner or occupant. All bills, incurred by the Health Officer in connection therewith shall be presented to the owner and, if different than the owner, occupant of the building, portion of the building or premises affected. In the event that such bills are not paid within 10 days after presentation, the Health Officer is hereby authorized to institute an appropriate court action in the name of the Borough to recover the costs from the owner, occupant, or both, as the case may be.
The following regulations to control breeding, multiplication and spread of rats and mice within the Borough of Hopatcong shall apply. No person shall:
Throw, place or deposit or permit any person under his control or employment to throw, place or deposit any putrid substance, night soil, filth of any kind, garbage, rubbish, refuse piles, old lumber or any other unwholesome material in any building, cellar, yard, vacant lot, alley, lane, sidewalk or street, canal, lake or river or upon any private lot or public ground within the Borough or otherwise create or allow to remain any rat or mouse harborage within or upon any building, portion of building or premises within the Borough of Hopatcong of which he is the owner or occupant or which is within his control.
Accumulate or permit the accumulation of, on any open lot or other premises, any old lumber, boxes, barrels, bricks, stones, scrap metal, motor vehicle bodies or parts of similar materials or any articles of junk which provide rat or mouse harborage unless the same shall be placed on open racks that are elevated not less than 18 inches above the ground, evenly piled or stacked.
Dump or permit the dumping or placing of, on or within any land, building, portion of building or premises or on any water or waterway within the Borough any dead animal, butcher's offal, seafood or any waste vegetables, animal matter or any food products whatsoever.
Keep any food for feeding poultry, horses, dogs or other animals or birds unless it is kept and stored in rat/mouse-free and rat/mouseproof containers, compartments or rooms, and unless kept in a rat/mouseproof building.
Place food in the open for the feeding of any domesticated fowl, bird or animal, except in such containers as will prevent the scattering of such food upon the ground. After feeding, such food shall not be allowed to remain where it is accessible to rats and mice.
Feed wild birds other than in suitable containers for the food. Containers shall be elevated at least 48 inches above ground level. Any spillage of eaten or uneaten food shall be removed.
Leave, dump or permit to accumulate any garbage, rubbish, waste or manure in any building, portion of building or premises in the Borough so that the same shall or may afford a harborage or breeding place for rats or mice. Rats and mouse burrows, dens or other exterior harborage shall be treated under methods directed by the Department of Health.
Place, store or dump in any building, portion of building or upon any premises any garbage or refuse upon which rats or mice may feed, except in suitable metal or other containers fitted with tight covers.
Every building and premises in the Borough, whether public or private, vacant or occupied, shall be rat/mouseproof and freed of rats and mice within three months from October 31, 1994, and shall thereafter be maintained in a rat/mouseproof and rat/mouse-free condition.
The owner, agent or occupant of all rat/mouse-stopped buildings or structures shall maintain them in a rat/mouse-stopped condition and repair all breaks or leaks that may occur in the rat/mouse stoppage.
No person shall remove the ratproofing or mouseproofing from any building or premises for any purpose without failing to restore the same in a satisfactory condition or to make any new openings in areas that have previously been closed or sealed against the entrance of rats.
Any person who violates and neglects to comply with any provision of this chapter or the regulations established herein or notice issued pursuant thereto shall, upon conviction thereof, be liable to a penalty consisting of one or more of the following: a period of incarceration not to exceed 30 days, a period of community service not to exceed 30 days and a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $250.