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SPCA removing animals said to be hoarded

A Shirley home was condemned after investigators found

A Shirley home was condemned after investigators found a baby bull, dogs, cats, a chinchilla, rats and dozens of birds - including about 75 pigeons - living inside it, officials said. (Feb. 22, 2011) Credit: James Carbone

Officials began removing more than 100 animals - including a baby bull - Tuesday from a Shirley house that Brookhaven town officials described as "squalid" and the site of illegal animal hoarding.

The roughly 1,400-square-foot Malba Drive home, a two-bedroom Cape on less than 10,000 square feet of land, was condemned after investigators found the baby bull, dogs, cats, a chinchilla, rats and dozens of birds - including about 75 pigeons - living inside it, said officials from the town and the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Several pigeons were dead, as was a duck, officials said.

The house was in squalid condition, filled with garbage and animal feces, and there were also eight goats and a large pig living in the yard, officials said.

A resident of the home, Alan Warner, was served on site with eight tickets to appear in Brookhaven Community Court in Patchogue for housing violations, said Paul Degen, the town's assistant chief investigator. Records show Warner, who is scheduled to appear in court April 21, has no prior offenses.

Warner could face criminal animal cruelty charges, said town Councilman Daniel Panico, who represents the area. Town supervisor Mark Lesko called it "a terrible situation" and said the investigation by the town, SPCA and Suffolk police is ongoing.

Warner told investigators he "rescues animals," Degen said.

"This is a perfect example of what happens when people hoard," Degen said. "There's no way he could possibly care for these animals."

Warner, 23, lived in the home with his fiancee, who police did not name, and with Concetta Gigliani, 87. Gigliani, the homeowner, showed signs of dementia and was transferred to a hospital for evaluation, Panico said, adding that investigators were trying to determine whether a child lived there as well. Warner and his fiancee are staying elsewhere, officials said.

Attempts to reach Warner were not successful. It is unclear whether Warner and Gigliani are related, Panico said.

Panico was informed about the state of the home on Sunday by nearby resident Paul Coraci, Panico said.

Coraci said he has been complaining to the town about the home for months.

"The smell, the noise," Coraci said. "I have a son who's highly asthmatic and I was taking him back and forth to the doctor because of the situation here."

Workers had removed about 20 of the animals, including the baby bull, by 5 p.m., Panico said.

"The most important thing is to get care for these animals," said Suffolk SPCA chief Roy Gross.

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