Woman, cats rescued from filthy home

June 24, 2008 9:13:43 PM PDT
Police in Queens rescued an elderly woman and dozens of cats from a house of filth Tuesday.Cops and animal control officers were called to the Woodhaven home after neighbors complained about a horrible smell. Inside, they discovered the woman and her cats living in piles of garbage.

Even workers with masks on and hands covered could not stomach being in the house. Animal Control officials removed 21 cats, including three kittens. Authorities say the pets were kept in a house of squalor, in rooms packed with garbage.

The backyard resembled a dumpsite, with cars, appliances, wheelchairs and tons of other junk piled up.

"He has like four cars in there, a lot of garbage, a lot of everything in there," one neighbor said.

That neighbor said he has tried for five years to get the city to do something. There was finally a response on Tuesday.

The fire department issued a vacate order for 88-59 70th Street in Woodhaven. Authorities say an elderly woman in her 90s lived in the home with her cats and her son.

Thirteen-year-old Kimberly Rodriguez says she hopes that one day soon, she'll be able to open up her window again and not be assaulted by the stench.

"The smell is really bad," she said.

The elderly woman and her son will not be allowed back into the home until all the garbage has been cleared away. Neighbors say they can't wait.


STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Lucy Yang