Officials: Hoarder Was Collecting Animals And Trash

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Sixty-eight animals including 30 dogs were rescued from a blaze in a Staten Island home.

Fire officials say the fire in the two-story house on Bowen Street, in the Clifton section of Staten Island, was reported on Friday evening. It was extinguished in about a half hour.

No injuries were reported.

Officials say the owners of the single-family home were hoarders who collected animals as well as trash. Some of the animals were kept in a yard next to the house.

As 1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten reported Saturday afternoon, a boy named Reginald who lives nearby said he saw the dogs frequently.

“Every time I walk through here, dogs just come out – a bunch of dogs,” he said. They just come, like, through the fence and start barking at everybody.”

As WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported, neighbors said the residence was known as “the dog house,” and with good reason.

“A bunch of furballs that ain’t been cleaned in a while,” one neighbor said.

Foul odors came from piles of trash in the two-story home, and left an unpleasant smell that wafted through the neighborhood, police said.

“They would come out, feces in the yard; she’d send them back to the basement, and you’d have to sit here and smell it all day,” a neighbor said.

Another neighbor said there was so much trash in the house that she could not imagine how the couple could stand it.

“Like hoarders – it’s so completely packed,” the neighbor said. “When you look in the door, it looks like you can’t get through.”

Besides the dogs, it’s not clear what kind of animals the rest were.

Other neighbors said they thought the couple was just trying to help the dogs, which were removed by Animal Care and Control to a shelter.

Fire marshals were investigating the cause of the blaze Saturday. The house was ordered vacated, Baumgarten reported.

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(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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