Dozens of wild animals, including foxes, turkeys and snakes found in Youngstown home
EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this story indicated that a cobra was in the home. Animal Charity has since confirmed with 21 News that there was no cobra and that this information was a result of a language barrier between the homeowner and officials at the scene. Animal Charity is assuring folks that no venomous animals were found in this home.
Animal handling experts were called to a house in the 1600 block of Ohio Avenue in Youngstown after dozens of animals were found at the North Side house Tuesday. Animals removed from the house include foxes, raccoons, turkeys, dogs, and "lots of snakes," according to Mahoning County Dog Warden Assistant Dave Nelson. None of the snakes found were venomous.
Nelson told 21 News that a fox and a large snake were loose inside, and once they had enough animal control workers in place, they would enter the location. Wild animals were removed by Animal Charities, along with the dog warden's officers and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Youngstown Police and firefighters are also on the scene.
Operations Director and Humane Agent with Animal Charity of Ohio, Jane MacMurchy tells 21 News a ball python is still in the home, but Animal Charity and the city are coordinating with a snake handler to have it removed.
Inside, nearly a dozen types of animal species were found in the residence, along with some reptiles.
"There was not one animal that was not in filth or feces," MacMurchy said. "This was unlike any other home that we have been to. It was a large variety of animals of all different species. Reptiles, fowl, wildlife and companion animals. They were all living in the house."
Dead fish along with 4 to 6 snakes, rabbits, ducks, two wild turkeys, two foxes and a wild raccoon believed to have rabies were isolated into a room of the house before being removed.
MacMurchy tells 21 News that the raccoon is not believed to be rabid and it was not near any of the other animals in the home. Rabies is not a concern for any of the animals found.
Ferrets, guinea pigs, hedgehogs, and turtles were also found inside the home. Youngstown Officer of Housing and Code Enforcement Curtis Flaviani said conditions inside the home were "deplorable."
Flaviani told 21 News the couple who lived at the home were transported three days ago to the hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning, after using kerosene heaters in the house with no heat or water.
The structure has been red-tagged by the Youngstown code enforcement officer due to animal excrement in the house.
"There are multiple violations for the city ordinances that would deem it a hazard and dangerous for individuals to remain here," Flaviani said.
The owners, still in the hospital, permitted emergency crews to enter the home over concerns for the animals' well-being.
54 animals were removed from the home by 2 p.m., including 6 to 7 dogs, ranging in age from 6 months to approximately 10 years in age.
"They have burns from urine and feces on their bellies and on their paws," MacMurchy added. "They were not being housed appropriately based on the species that they were. A lot of them are not illegal to own, the problem is they are being neglected and abused."
Youngstown Code Enforcement Superintendent, Mike Durkin confirmed with 21 News that the home is going to be demolished, but no date has been finalized for the demolition at this time.
Durkin tells us there are still some issues to handle at the property, and due to the occupants being hospitalized, the city needs to assist them with gathering and dealing with personal items, as well as assist them with input from other agencies.
The incident is being investigated, and there is no word on whether charges will be filed.