pigeons
Clockwise from left: A Nassau SPCA investigator holds a bird rescued from a North Merrick house, bird droppings coat the floor of the Abbott Avenue house, police tape blocks off the outside of the condemned building and a pigeon peaks out of a cage.

Investigators removed nearly 350 pigeons that were flying freely inside a North Merrick home, which was condemned after two feet of bird droppings was found piled up the floors Thursday, officials said.

Authorities did not identify the 68-year-old owner of the Abbott Avenue home, who was hospitalized at Nassau University Medical Center for unspecified injuries. It is unclear what charges may face, but Hempstead Town Building Department Inspectors deemed the house unfit for human occupancy and an unsafe structure.

“This house was essentially a pigeon coop,” said Gary Rogers, a detective and spokesman for the Nassau County SPCA, the lead agency on the case. “A person shouldn’t be living in a situation like that and the birds should not be living in a situation like that.”

Rogers noted that the agency has removed more than 800 animals from hording situations in the county this summer, including a house in Bellmore that was full of hundreds of assorted animals, two houses packed with dozens of dogs and several cat hoarding cases.

As for the North Merrick bird house, Rogers said the investigation began after Hempstead town received a complaint about overgrown bushes at the home. Nassau SPCA investigators later discovered the bird infestation and secured a search warrant from the district attorney’s animal abuse unit.

The bird droppings were so deep that doors were stuck open and the refrigerator was stuck closed, Rogers said. Today marked the first time that many of the birds were outside, he added.

“This has been going on for years and years and years,” Rogers said. “He started out being a regular pigeon person and I guess it just took off.”

The birds, some of which appear to have neurological problems, will be evaluated by veterinarians and will be placed in homes, Rogers said. He noted that one of the investigators suffered head lacerations when he fell in a hole in the backyard.

To report animal cruelty, the Nassau SPCA asks tipsters to call 516-THE-SPCA or email crueltystoppers@ncspca.us

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.