Raid on Merrick home reveals hundreds of pigeons

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A.J. Ross reports from Merrick, where hundreds of pigeons were found inside a home.

Officials found a house overrun by birds on Long Island Thursday during a raid.

They believe there were 350 pigeons uncaged and flying around inside the home on Abbot Avenue.

Conditions in the house were squalid with about two feet of feces and seeds on the floor.

"This is horrendous," said Nassau County SPCA spokesman Gary Rogers. "You can't open the doors because of all the pilings of bird droppings."

The home had no running water and the refrigerator was not accessible.

"Every time I say I've seen it all, I see something else I've never seen, a house that became a pigeon coup," Rogers said.

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See the scene where officials found hundreds of pigeons inside a home on Long Island.

Once the birds are removed, a determination will be made on whether the house will be condemned.

The 68-year-old homeowner was taken from the home on a stretcher to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow for evaluation.

"The occupant of the house, we don't know how he got around because you couldn't open the doors more than six to eight inches because of all the droppings on the floor, the refrigerator could not be opened, there was no way he had food in here," Rogers said.

The SPCA was tipped off about the pigeons by the Town of Hempstead.

Neighbors had complained about the house to the town building department. The DA then executed a search warrant at 7 a.m. Thursday.
SPCA officials on the scene wore HAZMAT suits. They were working Thursday to remove the birds, some of which had neurological disorders.

The birds will be assessed by the SPCA, which will then place them with caretakers who raise and care for pigeons. The birds will not be released into the wild.

Since the beginning of the summer, Rogers said, 850 animals have been rescued from hoarding cases in Nassau County.

As crews in hazmat suits carefully removed the birds one by one, neighbors flocked to the scene in disbelief.

"I knew he had pigeons, I'm here 40 years. I knew him well and I knew he had pigeons but never to that extent of course," said Carol Ball, a neighbor.

"I just hope that he's OK and they can get him some help and take care of the property, I guess it might have to be condemned," said Peter Montauredes, a neighbor.
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