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SPCA workers acting on a tip raided a Long Island home and found nearly 350 pigeons flying around inside, with feet of droppings all over
The 64-year-old homeowner was taken to the hospital
Neighbors called him "the bird man" and say he was a nice, quiet man who slowly turned into a recluse
A Long Island man dubbed "bird man" by neighbors was taken to the hospital and his home condemned after authorities found nearly 350 pigeons flying around inside.
SPCA workers went to the house Thursday, acting on a tip from the Hempstead buildings department. When they discovered the birds and the conditions inside the home, they had to go in wearing hazmat suits to retrieve crate after crate of pigeons.
Authorities believe the 64-year-old homeowner has been living for years in more than two feet of bird droppings across all the floors inside the North Merrick home, an SPCA official said at the scene.
"It was a literally a pigeon coop in there that was never cleaned," said Gary Rogers of the Nassau County SPCA. "There was no running water. The occupant, we don't know how he got around because he couldn't open the door more than six to eight inches because of the droppings on the floor."
"The refrigerator could not be opened. There was no way he had food in there," Rogers added. "And he had medical issues."
Workers spent the day carrying out crates of pigeons, eggs and a newborn. Most were in good condition and well-fed.
The homeowner was taken to a local hospital by police. One SPCA officer was also taken to a local hospital after he fell through weak floorboards and into the basement, according to officials. He had a head injury but is expected to be OK.
Neighbors said the man is a bird lover who was rarely seen. They called him the "bird man" and say he was a nice, quiet man who slowly turned into a recluse.
"He used to fish and he used to take the Jeep that you see in the back -- but that looks pretty dilapidated now," said a neighbor named Laurie. "I would imagine a good 10 years that he's been a recluse in that house."
But neighbors never thought to call.
"There was one day where me and my brother found this injured bird, and we brought him over to the guy and he took it in, and we never saw it again," said Matt Lamonas. "I think we just kind of got accustomed to it because he was so quiet."
"Every time I say I've seen it all, I see something else," said Rogers. "I've never seen a house that became a pigeon coop."