Condemned house where police shot dog infested with lice, trash, police say

Condemned house where police shot dog infested with lice, trash, police say

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WEST VALLEY CITY — A condemned house where officers were recently forced to shoot a dog continues to be a problem for the city, police say.

On Oct. 9. a SWAT team served a search warrant at 7005 W. Gates Ave. (2450 South). The house was closed to occupancy by the West Valley Health Department, but continues to have constant traffic going in and out of the boarded-up residence, according to police.

On that day, police received information about possible drug activity and weapons on the property.

Six people were found inside the house. Three were arrested on outstanding warrants.

Just as the officers were about to wrap up their search, a dog broke free from where it had been tied up in the backyard and charged at an officer who was forced to shoot the animal. The dog was later euthanized by the owner.

Police found drug paraphernalia, including syringes and pipes used for smoking methamphetamine, inside the house and a stolen snowmobile and trailer in the backyard, according to the search warrant affidavit.

The affidavit also outlines the ongoing problems police have had with the residence. Since 2002, officers have been involved in more than 200 incidents at that address.

Since 2002, the warrant states, “countless arrests” have been made at the house “for all sorts of criminal activity. Since 2002, the West Valley City Code Enforcement Division has been forced to obtain numerous property abatement orders and force the abatement/cleanup of the property.”

The property has fallen into “severe disrepair” and the owner “has allowed transient parties to reside on the property in outbuildings, sheds, tents and vehicles. The residence is a known location for transient users of illegal controlled substances to loiter and the residence has been used as a base of operation for the various criminal activities these transient parties are involved in,” the affidavit says.

All utilities to the house have been shut off and trash is not collected, according to police, and there is no working toilet in the house. Officers say the inside of the residence “is in total disrepair and not a safe environment for anyone to live in.”

There is 3 feet of standing water in a crawl space in the lower portion of the house, according to the warrant.

“Your affiant has been told that the residence suffers from a severe infestation of body and head lice as well as bed bugs and rodents,” police wrote.

Officers even noted that during the times they have spoken with the 70-year-old property owner, lice were “clearly viewed moving” through his hair and beard, and other people who have stayed in the home “have shaved their heads (due) to the lice issue.”

The West Valley Health Department conducted abatements of the property in March and August, and police requested another abatement in their warrant “as trash and other waste is again being accumulated in massive amounts on the property.”

West Valley spokesman Sam Johnson said the city has been working with the property owner for about a decade to try and get his residence up to code, but the issue has recently come to a head.

The city building inspector will look at the house again in mid-November, Johnson said. If repairs have not been made and other problems resolved to bring the house back up to code, Johnson said the city will proceed with the next step, which ultimately could lead to the house being torn down.

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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the team in 2021, after many years of reporting at the Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio before that.


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