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Furry squatters about to lose their home

Published: Sat, October 3, 2009 @ 12:01 a.m.



The inhabitants of 52 Seventh St. in Campbell aren’t going to be happy when their house is torn down, but they’re the only ones who will be sorry to see it go.

Several of them congregated on the front steps and in the doorway at the house last week, innocent of what’s to come.

Their neighbor, David Green, hopes the house isn’t demolished on top of them.

“There’s some kittens in there, and the momma’s there, too,” he said.

There are also some stray cats in the garage, he said, and though he’s been feeding the kittens, he can’t catch them.

“They run from me,” he said.

They’ll have to run fast to escape the wrecking ball as 52 Seventh St. comes down this fall. It’s one of 13 in the first batch of 137 abandoned houses and commercial buildings in Campbell to be demolished.

Aside from the occasional worries about some four-footed neighbors, many people in Campbell are looking forward to removal of the blight that’s detracting from their own properties by drawing pests, trash and vandals.

With $727,000 in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Funds allotted for the Campbell properties, Mahoning County is on track to begin the demolitions soon, confirmed Anna DeAscentis, grants manager for the county commissioners.

All Excavating Inc. of Youngstown was the apparent low bidder at a bid opening for the first 13 properties Sept. 17. The company bid $32,700.

The contract has not been awarded yet, DeAscentis said.

On the bid form, the county specifies that all the work is to be finished and sites restored within 45 days of the authorization to proceed.

The demolitions include removing and disposing of debris and filling in basements.

On Devitt Avenue, Antoinette Cimmento and Mary Lee Frangos can’t wait.

“It’s been 28 years of my life,” said Cimmento, about living next to abandoned 505 Devitt.

After the homeowner died, the house was left to a relative who didn’t want anything to do with it, she said.

It was left to deteriorate for nearly three decades, though she and Frangos, who owns rental property on the street, tried to keep the yard clean.

“I cleaned that property up for 28 years,” she said. “There’s been animals living in it. Rats and stuff.

“The kids wrote nasty words on it,” said Cimmento. “They must be doing it at night.”

Frangos said that at different times through the years, she tried to buy the house. At first she was told it would be in a sheriff’s auction, she said, but then discovered it was bundled in with other properties in a tax lien sale.

She said that she’s tried to buy it from different companies, but they wanted too much money for it.

“That house is falling in,” she said. “There’s holes in the roof.”

The Mahoning County Auditor’s Web site indicates 505 Devitt has been owned since 2005 by Endeavor Real Estate Fund, LLC in Hauppague, N.Y.

There are delinquent property taxes in the amount of $1,858.

“It’s still a nice neighborhood on Devitt,” Frangos said. “It just runs down our property — a hindrance to anybody that lives here.”


First 13 demolitions

The first 13 of 137 abandoned properties in Campbell to be demolished with Neighborhood Stabilization Funds will come down this fall.

25 Second St.

2852 Wilson Ave.

52 Seventh St.

167 Monroe St.

113 Jefferson St.

98 Jefferson St.

23 12th st.


1Lifesnadir(164 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

I hope Cat Ladies Society can work with the County to save the cats and kittens. Isn't it inhumane to crush cats with a wrecking ball and falling debris?! At least give the moms with babies fair warning... give them time to move their litters!

If a person living in Mahoning County killed cats in the person's yard, the person would be charged with cruelty. Shouldn't the COUNTY and its officials face such charges if they allow demolition to KILL these cats??? !!!

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2wupper(16 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Amen to that Lifenadir!! There are humane ways to catch them!! Give them a chance!!!

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3gistol(72 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

LIFESNADIR - You are correct! Yes the city and the Wrecking Company SHOULD be charged with animal cruelty, 1 count for every animal they crush IF they go ahead with this. I certainly hope a shelter steps up to help, but it is sad that the county, neighbor lady and wrecking company have no care about those poor animals' lives. Some of that Fedreal $$$ should go to housing those animals.

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4DoctorGonzo(728 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

I can certainly understand people's compassion for animals. I would not necessarily want to see the cats crushed either.
Having said that, to say the county should be charged with animal cruelty for every animal that is potentially harmed by this proposed demolition is blatantly absurd.
How can anyone determine if an animal is harmed? You want them to dig through the rubble looking for survivors?
You understand that cats are not stupid and when they hear big ass machines heading their way they will move, and if not, that is what Darwin wrote about.
Who is going to actually administer these charges against the county? The county? I can see it now: "Yes, you used federal money to clean up urban blight in your city, gave a local company some business, removed crack dens and eye sores that were bringing property values down, but you also killed a cat that did not choose to move before you knocked down the structure. The cats rights were abused and you are charged with cruelty."
Where am I, San Francisco? This demolition is absolutely necessary and if some animals get smoked, that's life. Think of how many human lives are being saved. To ask the county to go through the house before demolition and save the stray animals living in the house is absurd. The whole thought process is skewed. You people do not live in the real world plain and simple.
Cats are wild animals by nature. Survival is an instinct they are born with. They will be allright, you however, may not.

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5gistol(72 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Well Gonzo, so glad you cleared all that up! Glad to know YOUR interpretation of Natural Selection is the holy grail. I'm sure Darwin was not referring to a wrecking ball, but glad you have twisted this theory into your own hateful & arrogant words as usual. If you are saying that living in the "Real World" is YOUR world? I don't want any part of it.

What research have you done on these 'wild' animals known technically as "Domesticated Cats". Maybe before you let your hateful mind spew onto the keys in front of you, you should learn the difference betwen the words DOMESTICATED and WILD. I'll help you, since your world may not have a webster's dictionary. Wild is something like lions, tigers or bears. Domesticated Cats are like those homeless ones in Campbell.
I also found your hypocricy comical as you start your rant by stating "I would not necessarily want to see the cats crushed" and end your speech with "if some animals get smoked, that's life."

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6paulydel(1607 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Great photo. I hope they can catch them without killing them.

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7DoctorGonzo(728 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

What the hell is so hateful about what I said? Survival of the fittest is how nature operates. Clearly these cats are doing ok on their own. They live in a shack, no humans, and they are still procreating. I don't have to justify the fact that cats can inherently and instinctively fend for themselves. They are predators. Nature cannot make that any clearer. They will certainly find their survival mechanism if they have to.

I never advocated killing anything, I just stated that it would be ludicrous to try and charge the county with animal cruelty and doubly ludicrous to go house by house and try and save these animals before they demolish anything.

You are the one who has hate obviously. You took everything I wrote and spun it into your own diatribe. You attack my intelligence and tell me I have no compassion. I did not write anything that wasn't based in logic.

In the real world we cannot just shell out money to save stray cats before we demolish a building. You see money is not infinite and runs out and right now the tax base is small and money is scarce. So I guess the county made an executive decison not to pay somebody to go house to house and remove the cats and give them a nice home. Instead they decided to spend the money on something more costructive like cleaning up a neighborhood covered in crack houses. And for this, you want them charged with animal cruelty. That seems abundantly logical...on whatever planet you reside.

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8Ytownboy(142 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

All the demolition in the world isn't going to help Campbell; all you will have left soon is a bunch of open fields. Much of Campbell will just end up returning to nature as the area continues to collapse. You might as well leave the cat house up for their sake; it won't make much difference in the long or short run.

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9reggie(30 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

i cannot believe the city is even saying that. i live in the country and u can catch farrells with a cage. just put cat food inside and the door will slam shut .. wa la problem solved. move on to another house to demolish then come back to this one. gez, do you guys need instructions ?

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10kids2028(87 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

To Ytownboy--- How dare you talk about Campbell in that way. There are BEAUTIFUL, WELL BUILT,
homes in Campbell. I am a former Campbellite and PROUD of it.
Those homes were abandoned and gutted, not
by Campbell people. If the revenue of tax money was still coming in those would not be there.

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11Ytownboy(142 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Those homes were abandoned and gutted, not
by Campbell people. If the revenue of tax money was still coming in those would not be there.

I agree with you on that. However, the revenue isn't coming in.


Good point. Much of Ytown will someday be open fields.

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