By Jeanne Starmack
Neighbors of a house where approximately 20 cats were removed last fall say they want assurance that the house is safe to live near.
They want the grass cut, too.
They say uncertainty over who owns the house at 600 Porter Ave., which has been vacant since December, is prompting a stalemate over who should take care of the lawn, board up a broken window, make sure there’s nothing in the house to attract cockroaches and make sure that mold growing on the windows isn’t harmful if airborne.
The city is waiting to hear that the house is bank-owned and the bank has given permission before it could take any action at the property, said city Administrator Lew Jackson.
Jackson said that meanwhile, he’s made the Mahoning County Board of Health aware of the concerns.
Humane agents with Animal Charity removed the cats and two dogs from the house in October. Homeowner Barbara Muscolo was told by the board of health to clean the house, which had animal feces throughout the basement. Neighbors were complaining about odors, according to Vindicator files.
Muscolo was given extensions through December for the cleaning, and she subsequently moved away.
But neighbors said they learned through a mortgage company representative who visited the property May 28 that the house is not bank-owned and the electricity is still on.
The representative, who said she is not legally allowed to give information on who owns the house, posted a notice on the door that the property appears to be abandoned. She could not confirm the name of the mortgage holder.
The notice gave any occupants three days to contact a posted phone number.
“I have grandkids here all the time, and I worry about what’s in there,” said Renee Wilush, who lives next door.
Her husband, Pat, said they might take legal action as a last resort.
Jackson said that Muscolo did give permission for neighbors to cut the grass.
Wilush said he would cut the grass once he knows Muscolo no longer owns the property.
“I don’t want to go on her personal property,” he said.
“We’d take care of it, believe me,” he said. “I don’t want the neighborhood to go.”