Officers raid home of woman, 80, and great grandson

July 11, 2011 1:49:13 PM PDT
Officials from Licenses and Inspections (L and I), the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PSPCA) and Philadelphia Police spent the afternoon at 406 Watkins Street in South Philadelphia.

On Monday afternoon, the animal control officers removed nine dogs from the home as the 80-year-old homeowner, a tenth dog in her arms and with flea bites covering her arms, sat outside. Inside, police found deplorable conditions, dog feces everywhere. The row home is infested with fleas.

"The fleas, the smell, horrible," neighbor Aubrey Mackie told Action News. "They put tons of trash out every week."

And yet, this is where the 80-year-old woman has been living along with her 22-year-old severely autistic great grandson, who also suffers from cerebral palsy.

Two weeks ago police removed the disabled man, named Bobby, from the house and took him to the hospital after getting complaints from neighbors. On Monday, neighbors called police again to report that Bobby was back living in the filthy row house.

"It's not a safe place for anybody to be," said neighbor Dee Dee Bennett. "It's not healthy."

Police took Bobby back to the hospital again on Monday. Investigators say they found evidence he is forced to sleep in the basement on a tarp and that he is badly malnourished. But they are just as concerned for his 80-year-old great-grandmother, named Rita.

"I got three freezers," she told Action News. "The boy is not undernourished."

Rita told us she cares for Bobby and the dogs and doesn't understand why police were there to take them away.

"The boy was doing fine," she said. "I don't even understand why they bothered coming back here."

Police have not released the full names of the young man and his great-grandmother. They are working to get both of them help. L and I is taking steps to condemn the house but that hadn't happened by Monday afternoon.

And while Bobby is in the hospital, his great grandmother will be allowed to stay in the flea-infested, filthy house for now.