Long-Running Mouse Infestation May Shut Down N.Y. Walmart

Recent state inspections of a Monticello, N.Y. Walmart have the mundane violations you’d see in any food facility’s inspection: dusty fans, lettuce cross-contamination, and coolers slightly warmer than they should be. Then there’s all of the food and other merchandise they’ve had to throw out after it was “defiled by rodents.” The state keeps coming back and reporting “thousands” of mouse droppings and evidence of rodents all over the store…and a few decaying corpses while they’re at it. The reports of mice go back to September 2011.

Mouse feces, urine, and gnaw marks have appeared in many departments of the store, not just food. Sections with anywhere from a few to a thousand mouse droppings include: candy, soda, snack foods, canned soup, cereal, beer, dairy, cake decorating, bread, pet food, feminine hygiene, baby needs, and produce sections. Oh yeah, and a bird trapped in the store crapped on a pizza and some bread while an inspector was present.

The state Department of Agriculture and Markets has scheduled a hearing to determine whether the store’s food processing permit should be taken away. If it is, another failed inspection could cause the state to shut down the store entirely.

Walmart, of course, is on it. “We take this matter very seriously,” a spokeswoman told the Sullivan County Democrat. “We’re committed to offering safe, quality food to our customers.”

You can download the entire report here (PDF) if you’re so inclined.

State finds violations at Thompson Walmart [Sullivan County Democrat] (Thanks for the tip, Jeanne!)

Warning: Rats In The Walmart!
Rodent Infestation Forces Target To Close
Closed: Too Much Rodent Poo At This Chicago Whole Foods


Edit Your Comment

  1. PunditGuy says:

    “We take this matter very seriously,”

    Everyone take a drink!

  2. Coffee says:

    Ugh…mice are a real pain in the ass when they’re determined. One winter, I had a family of mice move into my house and start eating the food out of my bird’s cage…their droppings became a problem, so I set up traps. There was a trap in the bedroom – the mice would get in through a knot hole in the floor, and one night, I heard it go off, and shortly thereafter, there was a soft scraping noise as the dying mouse dragged the wooden trap along the floor. *scraaaaaaape* Some kind of primal fear took hold of me, and I just lie there, waiting for the thing to die already, but no. *scraaaape* *tap tap tap* (is it running into a wall? Why isn’t it dead?)

    The noise stopped, and the next morning, I awoke to look for the corpse. There was none, but by the knot hole, there was an empty, blood-spattered trap. Nightmare fuel.

    • nugatory says:

      I’m dealing with a similar issue right now. I’ve actually got woodland rats camping in my attic. They came along a nature strip that I mack onto, found my bird feeders and decide my attic was nice an warm. this is really going to suck getting rid of them.

      • Kestris says:

        Dealing with rats in my backyard myself. Things are a real pain in the ass. They found my feeders as well, and even after leaving them empty for over a month, even mocving them to a more open location, the only result was a hawk that came to visit, had a meal and left again.

        We ended up having to resort to poison- in strategic areas that the rest of the resident wildlife can’t get to, such as in the compost bin, in the next door empty house’s dryer vent(it’s been empty over a year now, which doesn’t help), under a planting container turned upside down over a tunnel entrance, that sort of thing. Which took care of the majority, but I still see a small, half grown one once or twice a week.

        • The Porkchop Express says:

          I had a rat in my backyard too, would come in the screened porch sometimes.

          One night the A/C made a horrible noise, the next morning I went to look a the A/C…RAT PARTS!!

      • gman863 says:

        The best thing you can do is hire a reputable roofer to inspect your home.

        My dad had a similar problem in his attic. We’d trap 3-4 in a week but more always showed up.

        It turned out the metal flashing around the chimney had a tiny open space about the size of a quarter – large enough for small rats to enter.

        After the roofer fixed this, we trapped the remaining five rats stuck in the attic within three days – problem solved.

      • frodolives35 says:

        Take a used peanut butter jar and empty a pack of mouse poison in it. Screw on the lid then shake it up until all the poison sticks to the side of the jar then toss it in the attic. This works well. Every couple of years remove empty licked clean jars. Where i live 2 times a year we get mice. once when they plow the farm fields in the spring then again when it gets cold. It takes about 1 month then we are mouse free again.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      “Nightmare fuel.”

      One, two, Freddy’s coming for you. Three, four, better lock your door. Five, six, grab your crucifix. Seven, eight, gonna stay up late. Nine, ten, never sleep again. Edited: One, two, Freddy’s coming for you. Three, four, better lock your door. Five, six, grab your crucifix. Seven, eight, better stay up late. Nine, ten, or you’ll never sleep again

    • castlecraver says:

      Do you have to disclose that sort of thing when you sell your home?

      “Well, Mr. Realator, the carpets are a little old and the water heater needs replacing but aside from that it’s… erm… well, there is also a zombie mouse that haunts this general area here in the bedroom…”

      • Coffee says:

        If I don’t have to tell them about the baby skeletons under the slap in the subbasement, I certainly don’t have to tell them about stupid zombie mice.

    • LastError says:

      If it was dead, then the other mice ate the corpse. Or it may have gnawed off a trapped limb to escape.

  3. Blueskylaw says:

    “Oh yeah, and a bird trapped in the store crapped on a pizza and some bread while an inspector was present.”

    This right here gave me a really good laugh. It reminds me of when I was a teenager and I brought my car in as trade to a dealer. While he was looking at it the muffler fell off and he got a big grin on his face, like he knew he was going to be able to screw me out of a lot of money. I stuck to my guns on what I wanted for the trade and eventually he relented after I threatened to walk out.

  4. HomerSimpson says:

    Nothing new…that happened to one Walmart around here last year. Had to keep the deli and bakery departments closed until the infestation problem was “fixed”. Still avoid that particular store because of how seedy it seems (and that’s even saying something for a Walmart)

    • Jawaka says:

      It doesn’t say in the article but if this is a Super Wal-Mart with a full grocery store built in then it becomes a lot more of a problem.

  5. scoosdad says:

    Ah Monticello NY in Sullivan County– home of the Woodstock festival in nearby Bethel.

    (having hazy flashback memories)

  6. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    “Oh yeah, and a bird trapped in the store crapped on a pizza…”

    How could they tell? *snicker*

  7. Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

    Umm… how many mice and birds does it take to “take this matter very seriously” for Walmart, anyway?

  8. CrankyOwl says:

    Obviously the answer here, as in so many things in life, is…moar cats!

    • sir_eccles says:

      Indeed, it’s pretty obvious why most bodegas in NYC have shop cats.

    • Coffee says:

      Yeah, but then they have to bring in a bunch of lonely women and creepy single guys to get rid of the cats…

  9. framitz says:

    Shut this one DOWN, condemn the building, fumigate, then tear it down.

  10. sjb says:

    Not mice but bird at the Lowe’s near where I am. They have had a major problem with birds getting into the store and setting up house. At times, there are enough of them that the noises of their chatter make normal conversation with someone impossible. Walk in areas will result in bombing runs by the birds.

    They have a full time person assigned to the problems of the birds. Plastic owls, predator bird recordings, and various other things as they try to get the birds out. Feels like you’re in some cheap jungle movie set while walking through areas of the store with all the props and sounds effects going on. I think they are getting control of the situation, last time I saw only about a dozen birds in the store.

    • CrankyOwl says:

      Well, using plastic owls is just silly when there are so many unemployed *real* owls. This is why I’m cranky.

  11. APCO25guy says:


    Sorry, a Jerky Boys flashback, couldn’t help but notice the article written by Mr. Frank Rizzo himself.

    I am surprised this place has not been closed sooner. That report is appalling.

  12. quail says:

    If there’s fields around, mice in the store might not be totally the fault of the store’s cleanliness. Those rodents will look for any warm spot in the winter if there’s food there or not. Wal-Mart probably had the misfortune of accidently building the store in the middle of Mouse City.

    To get rid of the problem they will have to go to extreme measures for a few months and go Holocaustal on the vermin with collatoral damage happening to other critters who stray to close. (eg. Cats who might come across a poisoned mouse who’s not dead yet.)

  13. buddhalite says:

    For shame consumerist! If it weren’t for the fact that this story was about a Wal-Mart – you’d have never posted it.

    If it were a Whole Foods – hell, you would have just shrugged it off figuring the mice came in with unwashed produce.

    Why do you hate on Wal-Mart so much? If you don’t like Wal-mart – don’t shop there. That’s the ultimate expression of “consumerism” – vote with your feet and let it go.

  14. FLConsumer says:

    “mouse feces, urine, and gnaw marks have appeared in many departments of the store,”

    And how is this different from any other Wal-Mart? Maybe there are clean Wal-Marts out there, but most of the ones I’ve been to in FL have a layer of grunge underneath and near the shelves that’s at least 1/4″-1/2″ tall. And that’s in the areas the public is. Makes me wonder what it’s like in the staff-only areas.

  15. LastError says:

    AInstall some hungry-ish female housecats. The male cats are lazy. The girls -especially the right ones- will hunt and kill and destroy mouse after mouse. A mouser momma cat will teach her kittens too, and with great aggression. All Walmart needs are the right mousers.

    • AcctbyDay says:

      Followed with the problems of live cats in the store which cause health code violations as well. +1 to creativity, -1 to practicality.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      I have to agree. I have two female cats (they’re sisters) and they hunt together. I don’t have problems with mice even though I live next to a field, woods, etc. If mice get into the house, they don’t leave alive. And as a bonus, my darlings always bring the dead little mouse carcasses to me so I don’t have to find them on my own. If there’s more than one, they will line them up in a row. Sort of creepy now that I really think about it.

  16. rambler american says:

    If you haven’t seen this…

    you should.

  17. DrPizza says:

    There are plenty of options for avoiding the mice in the first place. Large food warehouses often use loud (not to humans) ultrasonic devices to keep mice away. Apparently that would cut into this Walmart’s bottom line too much.

  18. gman863 says:

    My guess is there is a break in the sewer line in or very near the store.

    Based on what I’ve seen on Infested!, a broken sewer line is an expressway for rodents to enter a building through drains and toilets.

  19. donovanr says:

    I was in a Walmart down the road near Edison; wow what a run down dump. The shelves were dinged up the floors were cracked and the lighting was poor. My presumption was that Walmart would have a team of inspectors sitting on top of this. Seems that they don’t like the NJ Turnpike or something.

  20. Press1forDialTone says:

    When the rats take over a WalMart because it is a cesspool by nature,
    put a clause in the building permit that the city has the right to fly over
    and drop multiple bunker-busters on the store, thereby leveling it.
    About half the current WalMart stores would be ready for this. Ugh.

  21. MarkFL says:

    Now look here…my neighbor Dale is an expert on these things, and he says there are no mice. It’s Chuck Mangione living at the Wal-Mart.


  22. MarkFL says:

    Now look here…my neighbor Dale is an expert on these things, and he says there are no mice. It’s Chuck Mangione living at the Wal-Mart.


  23. Cactus Wren says:

    “Oh yeah, and a bird trapped in the store crapped on a pizza and some bread while an inspector was present.”

    Who are they kidding? I genuinely believe entire subspecies of sparrow and finch are evolving that thrive only in big-box stores and shopping malls.

  24. MarkFL says:

    Having spent many years in the inventory business, I’ve seen all sorts of things. I’ve seen birds living in stores, droppings of all sorts of animals, a hardware store with a trap so large I asked if they were trying to catch a badger, store associates sitting on a table where the produce was packaged, dairy products as much as eight months out of date, and more types of bugs than I used to know existed.

    But by far the worst was this: There was a grocery store out in BFE whose back door faced the sugar cane fields. If you live in Florida, you probably know that right after the cane is harvested, the field is burned. This means that whatever lived in the field has to find a new home. So the next time we were at the store, it was — I don’t know the word, as “infested” doesn’t begin to describe the situation, but it was totally overrun by rats. Not just rats, but ENORMOUS rats, the size of puppies and larger. Don’t tell me about your sewer rats, these rats would swallow them whole.

    Now, I have seen evidence of rats in stockrooms, but these rats were plainly visible everywhere — on the shelves, at the checkouts, and occasionally scampering across the salesfloor. They had even chewed through some of the wiring in the freezer. It was most I ever feared for my own safety at an inventory, and that includes going into a store where there was a fire and a whole series of stores that had been destroyed Hurricane Andrew and hadn’t had electricity for a week. (Try to imagine a store full of meat and other perishables after a week with no refrigeration.) People were still shopping, though, even though there were at least two other grocery stores in town, one of which was even in the same chain.

    A few months later we went back to the store, and while I still wasn’t willing to reach behind anything, there were no rats. The new manager had brought in a bunch of cats to solve the problem. No, that’s not legal, either, but a lot less disturbing, and probably less likely to spread rabies. It wasn’t long after that the store was closed — not because of the rats or the cats, but the company closed dozens of stores as part of a restructuring.

  25. spazztastic says:

    I was just in this store on Saturday…thank goodness I didn’t go anywhere near the food…