DEARBORN, Michigan – A man kept more than 90 dogs — mostly Chihuahuas — in a suburban Detroit home was filled with feces and trash, authorities said Thursday.
Neighbors in the past had complained of an odor, but this week was the first time officials got inside. On Wednesday and Thursday, crews wearing masks to help them breathe carried dogs from the two-story home.
"There's trash from floor to ceiling," said Nick Siroskey, director of residential services for the city. "There's feces and urine throughout the entire house. Basement, first level, second level."
City workers, along with Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter, removed 42 ailing and feces-covered dogs from the home in Dearborn on Wednesday. They returned Thursday and found about 50 more dogs.
The 56-year-old man who was living in the house was taken to a local hospital for observation. His family, which lives in Florida, was involved in his care and cooperating with officials.
The man's sister told officials that she believed he initially had two dogs in the home and that they may have reproduced, Siroskey said. Misdemeanor animal cruelty charges were possible, but Siroskey said the man appears to have mental health problems.
Crews pulled bags full of trash from the home to clear pathways inside, and dogs sat in cages outside before being taken to the shelter. The house was deemed unfit for human habitation and the city likely will seek to tear it down, Siroskey said.
On Friday, Siroskey said police were called to the home by a neighbor who spotted some kittens in a hole in the backyard, and the officer who responded reported that it seemed like there were many dogs inside. Animal control authorities got the case and, after obtaining a warrant, investigators went inside Wednesday.
"Sometimes you have no clue how many pets are in a house," Siroskey said.