A raid on a Merrick house Thursday led officials to the grim discovery of approximately 350 pigeons flying freely yet trapped inside the home.
“The house was a pigeon coop,” described SPCA spokesman Gary Rogers at the scene on Abbot Avenue.
The house was flagged because it had been going without running water for some time while neighbors complained of overgrowth in the yard. After officials secured a warrant they went to investigate.
When they entered the building the problem was obvious: bird droppings as deep as two-feet covering the entire dwelling, from the basement to an upstairs floor. And hundreds of pigeons, many sick, were loose in the home still occupied by a 68-year-old man.
“We don’t know how he was living here. There was no running water, you couldn’t open the refrigerator, and he was living in this sea of bird droppings and seed." Rogers said.
The elderly man was taken out of the house on a stretcher wearing an oxygen mask and taken to the Nassau County Medical Center.
Rescuers had to remove the home’s front door because of the depth of the droppings obstructing the entrance; they also wore hazmat suits and masks as they undertook the task of removing the birds to safety.
One rescuer had to be taken to the hospital when he fell through the rotted floor, suffering bruises and scratches.
Rogers said that in the last month 850 animals were rescued from “hording situations” in Nassau County homes.
“The animals cannot make the phone call. They need your help. Their neighbors need your help. People need to step up.”