Green couch cushions covering a car in the driveway, large empty flower pots, a pile of unknown items under a blue tarp and a stack of metal along the side entrance — these are just some of the things outside a house in Rosedale. Neighbors say they have been complaining to the city about the unsightly mess, but have made no progress, and have given up hope.
When questioned about her house at 243-14 132 Road, owner Elaine Ranger and her daughter, who would not give her name, said they are in the process of spring cleaning and maintain that most of the items on the property are useful and the rest is just awaiting pickup by the city Department of Sanitation.
“A lot of this stuff is going out. You have things over time, you change out,” Ranger’s daughter said. “If you had come here last week you would have seen a lot of things were taken away as garbage.”
But several neighbors say there have been piles of rubbish outside the house ever since Ranger moved in — and they have pictures to prove it.
“It’s been hell for the last 10 years,” said H. Gardner, who lives next door, adding “It’s changed my whole quality of life. I can’t use my yard. ... Neighbors have come and cussed me out thinking that I live there.”
Several people complained about Ranger’s seven dogs, which they say are often allowed to run loose in the neighborhood — something Ranger denies — knocking over trash cans, defecating on people’s lawns and in one case biting an elderly man who lived in the neighborhood.
“The police shot two dogs,” Gardner said. “They bit an old man around the corner. I guess they knocked them out and took them away.”
In Ranger’s backyard, there are more piles of rubbish and the dogs, which her daughter said are all the same breed — shepherd and chow mix — run back and forth and can be heard barking loudly. Even though it is encircled by a tall fence, neighbors say that doesn’t prevent the canines from entering their yards.
“The dogs are barking at all hours of the morning,” said neighbor Valerie Ghanie. “We’ve made several complaints to 311, but it hasn’t been working, so we stopped calling.”
She said she has also noticed vermin, including dead mice in her backyard, and live ones in her house, which she attributes to Ranger’s trash pile. She worries about the safety of her three children, ages 8, 10 and 16.
Ghanie’s husband, Terrence, became so fed up with the dogs, that when he noticed one had defecated on his property, he took matters into his own hands.
“One day I saw a big load on my grass outside, and I told her to come and move it, and she refused,” Ghanie recalled. “So, I just said, ‘OK, this is not mine,’ so I threw it back over there.”
Ghanie said confronting Ranger about the issues related to her property has only caused more problems.
“It has become a hostile environment,” he said. “One day I was coming in and she was blocking my driveway and I asked her to move, and just that was a problem, so I have zero communication with them right now.”
Gardner said Ranger’s cars have blocked her driveway on several occasions as well.
Daphne Chan-A-Sue, who lives across the street said, as an older adult, she fears for her safety, after repeatedly seeing Ranger’s dogs roaming the streets.
Donovan Richards, chief of staff to City Councilman James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton) said the lawmaker’s office has received numerous complaints about Ranger’s property. When he visited her on Monday, he offered to make special arrangements to have a Sanitation truck come by and take excess trash, but she maintained that she was keeping most of it.
“There is nothing here for Sanitation to take,” Ranger said. “This is my personal stuff.”
Ranger has eight Environmental Control Board violations regarding construction work without a permit and quality of life infractions with fines totaling $6,900, and two Department of Buildings construction violations.
The city Department of Health conducted an initial inspection on Oct. 22, 2011 and a compliance inspection on December 5, 2011. Ranger received violations for improperstorage of items and harborage conditions conducive to rats, a spokesman for the agency said Tuesday.
“One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure — you understand me,” Ranger said. “There are flower pots and planting pots and some recyclables.”
In 2009, the ASPCA received a complaint that one of Ranger’s dogs was in a neighbor’s yard and appeared to be in poor health, but staffers who visited the area determined that there was no indication of any neglect, Joseph Pentangelo, a spokesman for the agency said Tuesday.
“As far as complaints go, they’ve been complaining and they continue to complain,” Ranger’s daughter said, adding, “You probably won’t stop getting complaints until we’ve actually sold the house or moved.”
But Ranger said she has no intention of doing either.