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Lehigh Valley

Neighbors claim Northampton County home is health hazard

Homeowner denies allegations, blames 'nosy neighbors'

Forks Township dispute

FORKS TWP., Pa. - Residents of one Northampton County neighborhood claim it's "going to the dogs." They say one home's animal waste is creating a health hazard, and they're demanding that Forks Township leaders take action.

From the outside, 2043 Huntington Lane is a beautiful home, but inside, neighbors tell a different story.

"It's a mess," said Kelli Nettles, who lives next door. "We have flies. There were maggots in the trash … It was a swarm of maggots."

This week, Nettles and other neighbors told Forks Township supervisors that the home has been abandoned for months. They believe it's filled with dog feces, urine, and the flies that comes with it. One neighbor showed us four strips of flies she claims to have caught in just one day.

When 69 News knocked on the door, we could easily see dead flies inside.

"The whole community is just up in arms and has tried to get in touch with whoever," said Nettles. "Apparently there is no Health Department."

The homeowner, Eletise Maldonado, insisted the neighbors' allegations are completely untrue.

"I seriously have some nosy neighbors who can't seem to find anything better to do than be in other people's life [sic]," Maldonado wrote to 69 News.

When asked if he would allow code enforcement officials inside his home, Maldonado replied, "No one one is coming into my home."

At this week's meeting, Forks Township's lawyer said the only way they can go into the home is with a warrant. That requires convincing a judge the home is a health hazard.

"I wish it was as easy to satisfy the residents to just walk on the property and do something, but, you know, we have to be careful that we're not trespassing on someone's property," said John O'Neil, chairman of Forks Township supervisors.

O'Neil said getting a warrant could be difficult because, on the outside, the property is well-maintained and the taxes all paid. Neighbors said they mowed the property's front lawn and removed the maggot-infested trash. O'Neil said that action may have actually hurt the neighbors' cause, because township laws requires grass to reach 10 inches before it's considered a code violation.

"At this point, I just want someone to go in there and clean it up," said Nettles. "It affects my home. It affects my children."

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