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Hobart City Hall

HOBART — City officials are determining how to address a foul stench emanating from a home in the 1600 block of Vine Court.

Hobart has received several complaints from residents in that area who have indicated the odor has made it difficult to enjoy being outside of their homes.

A neighbor told the Board of Public Works and Safety the property owner has moved away, and the home is currently vacant.

He said the owner at one time had about 10 dogs living there. The resident said the dogs were kept indoors and animal feces were dumped in the yard.

It's also believed there is animal waste in the home, which is contributing to the odor issues.

The resident indicated he is unable to sit outside on his porch because the smell is overwhelming. He hopes the problem can soon be resolved because he believes it's a health issue.

Although the home is vacant, electric service remains at the dwelling. Hobart police Lt. Ronald Russo said the smell seems to become worse when the air conditioner there is running.

Russo hasn't yet been able to make contact with the owner. He has been directed to seek a warrant that would allow him to get into the house and suggest solutions to the problem.

"I don't know what that's going to be,” Mayor Brian Snedecor said.

If there is animal waste left there, it could require a hazard materials crew to address it, Snedecor said.

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Russo said he was told the property owner attempted to hire someone to clean the house, but the person left because he couldn't handle the smell.

Hobart officials faced similar issues in 2011 while addressing unsafe and unsanitary conditions at a home on Ohio Street.

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That property was declared uninhabitable then. City officials said that home had garbage piled waist-high and items were soaked with cat urine. Living and dead cats were inside the house, and a raccoon also was trapped in the home.

A massive cleanup effort was needed to tackle the problem.

The Ohio Street home was recently included in a list of residences the city planned to raze because of their conditions.

Owner Karen Boruff was given additional time to improve the home.

Robert Eshelman, a former Hobart City Councilman, is among people volunteering to make repairs and clean the home, which is currently vacant. Boruff's goal is to eventually move back to the home.

Eshelman said a new front door was installed and gutters that once had tall weeds in them have been cleaned. Repairs also have been made to window panes.

Boruff or a representative will be required to give the Board of Public Works and Safety monthly progress reports.

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