The officer said he's been at the house many times in the past month or so.
By PATRICIA MEADE
VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Flies feasted on decaying rats that lay next to stale dog food and stagnant water.
That sight at 156 Hilton Ave. on the South Side is just one in a long list of observations Patrolman Dan Mikus has recorded over the past month or so. The officer said he wasn't able to contact the owner until Monday, despite loud knocks at the door when he knew she was home.
A man sitting on the porch Monday said he'd go in and get the homeowner for Mikus. The officer then called for backup.
Patrolman Rick Baldwin arrived to assist, as did Lorrie Byo, Animal Charity humane investigator; Deputy Dog Warden Sean Toohey; and housing inspectors Monty Campbell and John Rossetti.
Deborah Warren-Roberts, 47, was issued citations charging her with cruelty to animals; disposing of litter on a private lot; failure to maintain property; failure to vaccinate animals for rabies; dogs running at large; accumulation of defecation where dogs are kept; and failure to display dog license tags. Tuesday, her case was scheduled for the July 22 session of Municipal Judge Robert P. Milich's housing court.
Mikus said he'd been getting complaints the past month about the condition and smell of the house at 156 Hilton. Complaints included dogs running loose, dogs left unattended without food or water for long periods of time and the rats that live in the garage and around the house.
He described the property this way: accumulated dogs' defecation, junk cars, trash and debris throughout the yard, porch and driveway and rats and dogs running through it all.
The officer said he saw piles of clothing thrown on the upstairs porch, decaying and smelling from exposure to the weather.
He found the front porch crowded with milk crates, empty soda cans, wet and decaying cardboard boxes, tarps, foam padding, old furniture cushions, lamp shades, tires, rusted tricycles, wet and smelly rolled carpets, old gutters and pieces of metal furniture.
"Only a small path to the front door was available for me to access," Mikus said in his report.
The officer said he has had three broken-down vehicles removed from the yard in the past month. During that time, he documented weeds 3 feet high, a large pile of wood that attracted rats, over-filled trash containers without lids, wet and decaying piles of old hay, rusted wheelbarrows, wagons, furniture, rusted antennae, broken and bent PVC pipe, tires, old framing pieces of wood and a discarded plastic pool.
Over the tall weeds he saw old propane tanks and grills in the back yard.
Monday, the humane investigator took two dogs from the yard and charged Warren-Roberts with two counts of animal cruelty. The deputy dog warden charged Warren-Roberts with failure to display dog license tags.
The housing inspectors charged her with failing to maintain the property. Reports show that the porches are falling down, the gutters are missing or not working and the house needs to be painted.
County records show that the house was transferred in a negotiated lien sale June 10.