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Canfield’s ‘filthy’ house



Published: Wed, October 28, 2009 @ 12:01 a.m.

Two children remain in protective custody after Canfield police removed them from the home.

By ELISE FRANCO

Vindicator staff writer

CANFIELD — A city couple is charged with child endangering and cruelty to animals after two children and nine animals were removed from their home.

Canfield Detective Brian McGivern said the children, both boys ages 7 and 2, were placed in protective custody, and will remain there for at least 30 days. The animals were taken to the Mahoning County dog warden but did not survive.

He said the children, along with seven dogs and two cats, were taken from the home of Brian Spin, 38, and Betsy Spin, 32, of 535 Brookpark Drive.

Police found them living in deplorable conditions Thursday. McGivern said the house was filled with garbage, animal and human waste and mold.

“The entire house was completely uninhabitable,” he said. “It was like walking in two inches of maple syrup. That’s how saturated the rugs were with urine and feces.”

McGivern said police were called to the home after a woman driving by saw three dogs running loose on the street. When officers arrived at the residence, McGivern said they found Spin in the yard with the three dogs.

“These dogs were in bad shape,” he said. “When you walk in the house, your eyes start watering and you start coughing. It was a foul odor.”

McGivern said the children were in an upstairs bedroom with Betsy Spin’s mother Georgia Holowach. He said they were covered in bug bites and very dirty.

“They were filthy, very poor hygiene, but they were in good health,” he said. “The 2-year-old was still being breast fed by [Betsy Spin] every two hours.”

The older child was home-schooled, McGivern said. Spin worked from home, and his wife was unemployed.

The couple was forced to leave the residence and had been staying with family. They were brought to the Canfield Police Department on Tuesday afternoon, booked and released under the responsibility of their attorney.

They now face nine counts of cruelty to animals and two counts of child endangering. They are scheduled to appear in Mahoning County Court in Canfield at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

McGivern said the investigation continues.

The 4,596 square foot home, which is owned by Holowach, has a total market value of $344,600 and was built in 1967, according to the Mahoning County Auditor’s Web site.

McGivern said the Spins lived in the home through a land agreement.

About a half-dozen neighbors contacted Tuesday afternoon said they didn’t want to discuss the matter.

McGivern said it took the dog warden four days to find and remove all the animals.

“Trash was piled so high inside the house, and the animals were just running wild that he couldn’t just climb over it,” he said.

Dog Warden Dave Nelson said three dogs died en route to the pound, and the other six animals were euthanized because of their condition.

The dog warden found another dog Tuesday afternoon living inside a mattress in the back yard.

“They had mange all over their bodies, which caused extreme pain,” he said. “The sores they had caused bits of their ears to fall off because it rots the skin.”

Nelson said the animals ranged from 1 to 6 years old, and were extremely emaciated.

“This is in the top 10 of all the houses I’ve raided in the past 20 years,” he said. “It’s just bad. It’s beyond belief.”

efranco@vindy.com


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