Homeowner of flea-infested home picked up by police

Published: Oct. 5, 2017 at 6:54 PM EDT
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The homeowner of a flea infested home News Ten first told you about on Wednesday is in police custody for her outstanding warrants.

Suzanne Marie Combs, 47, was picked up by police Friday morning after attempting to leave for Florida. She had a warrant for animal cruelty.

Neighbors in the 1400 block of Park Avenue in Lansing called News Ten after saying the abandoned home was so infested with fleas that it was affecting them and their pets.

'It’s been really bad for the past six months we’ve lived here,” said one neighbor who didn’t want to go on camera. “We'll bomb and they'll go away for a day or two and they’re right back because there are so many of them.”

“We've been parking in the street but they’re getting in our cars even, if you even pass the house, you get covered in them,” said the neighbor.

Another neighbor living nearby showed us flea bites on his body.

After News Ten reporter Clayton Cummins knocked on the door of the home, he found hundreds of fleas crawling up his own pants.

Scott Sanford, from the City of Lansing Code Enforcement Division said it's terrible.

"I’ve been doing this for 18 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Sanford. "The home has been red tagged, deeming the conditions inside unlivable.

But they were unable to do anything because they were unable to locate Combs.

“Unfortunately the city does not have any process in place to be able to abate fleas, we have nothing,” said Sanford. “We can't even hire a contractor to go out there because this is private property and they do have rights, we don't have the right as municipality to go on to private property and abate this type of thing.”

With the city unable to help and prevention not working, neighbors are desperate.

“Please someone help us, please,” said a nearby neighbor. “We don't know what else to do, like we don't want to even live here anymore but we have to because we own our home and we can't just up and leave.”

A change can be made to the ordinance that could allow the city to take care of this, but the process takes time.

The Lansing city mayor must first make a recommendation. Hearings must be held with the city’s public safety council. If the ordinance passes, then the full city council will have to vote..

Sanford says this instance may have the city seriously looking onto adding an ordinance.

Family members arrived to the home Friday morning in attempt to treat for the fleas.

The three dogs Combs had when she lived in that home were all taken away from her and are safe.

News 10's Clayton Cummins will have the latest on this developing story, tonight at 6.

 “We'll bomb and they'll go away for a day or two and they’re right back because there are so many of them.”

Neighbor at flea-infested home