An excavator tears out the second floor of 7840 Orchard on Thursday — the same second floor that city building officials said last fall had collapsed in some places due to structural rot from dog waste and waist-high garbage. The house was deemed unfit for human habitation after authorities found more than 150 dead and 100 live Chihuahuas living in squalor with the former resident, Kenneth Lang Jr., in August 2009.
Chihuahua hoarder house razed, cost recovery sought
By J. PATRICK PEPPER
DEARBORN — The east side house where a local man was found living in squalid conditions with 250 live and dead Chihuahuas was demolished last week.
The demolition comes two months after former resident Kenneth Lang Jr. was sentenced to five years’ probation for animal cruelty charges stemming from the incident. The house was deemed unfit for human habitation after a massive cleanup effort in the early fall that resulted in more than nine roll-off style trash receptacles filled with urine-and-feces soaked garbage and clutter.
Lang, 57, who has several clinically diagnosed mental issues, according to his attorney, James Schmier, currently is living in a group house in Oakland County.
The demolition was a three-step process according to city building officials. The contractor on April 13 removed asbestos from various places in the basement and garage. On Wednesday an insecticide treatment was sprayed; the structures actually were torn down on Thursday. Cleanup was still under way as of press time and was expected complete by the end of Monday.
City spokeswoman Mary Laundroche said the cost for the demolition is roughly $8,000, and that the city would look to recover the costs through a lien on the property, which is owned by Lang’s father, who lives in Florida.
Still unresolved is how the city will go about collecting the $38,000 it spent on the initial cleanup of the house. As part of his sentence on the animal cruelty charge, Lang Jr. was ordered to pay $61,000 in restitution to the city, to the Dearborn Animal Shelter, which took in the neglected pups, and a legal defense fund.
But Laundroche pointed out that with Lang currently generating no income beyond his social benefit checks, which Schmier said was his client’s only form of income, actually collecting the payments could prove difficult.