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Cat rescuer affects residents on Paulding Avenue

Bronx Times
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A ‘cat hoarder’ problem in Morris Park has residents angry.

The situation involves animal rescuer Diane Jungk, a long-time resident on Paulding Avenue, who takes care of a number of stray cats, which has generated numerous complaints among homeowners who live on the block.

The complaints stem from many issues. Neighbors said that Jungk feeds the cats in front of her house which results in a ‘free for all’ scenario among the cats.

One of her neighbors also added that she had been leaving the bowls of cat food and water in an alleyway that the homeowners both share.

Another issue that residents have complained about is the odor from her house, which is surrounded by a wall of debris including cat cages and boxes.

Much of the garbage towards the front of the house is covered by waterproof sheets, tents and umbrellas. Debris also runs up and down the alleyway.

These items, along with cat feces on the property, have contributed to a foul smell for neighbors, especially in this summer’s extreme heat.

The smell attracts flies, which has resulted in neighbors, many of whom have children, being unable to open their windows or use their porches.

The cats have also been seen in garbage cans, either looking for food or doing their ‘personal business’.

Despite years of complaints, the situation has gotten worse, according to residents, who say nothing has been done to solve the problem.

“This has been a problem for four or five years and nothing has changed in the least bit,” said one resident, who lives next door to the property. “We (my husband and I) have offered to help her clean up the garbage but she refuses. She thinks we have a personal vendetta against her but we just want her property and this block to be clean.”

“It’s too much - there are cats climbing trees, there are cats climbing onto windows,” another nearby resident said. “I know she’s doing something good for the cats, but it’s a hoarding party.”

Another Paulding Avenue resident added, “I’m afraid of cats now, even when I turn on the television!”

Residents also expressed annoyance about the increased population of possums, skunks and raccoons as a result of the public cat feedings.

Residents believe she may have more than 20 cats living in the house.

“I’ve really had it with this woman,” said Victor Blancato, the landlord at 1951 Paulding Avenue, located right next door to the property. “It’s so frustrating that as long as this mess has been here, nothing has ever been done to get this property cleaned up. It’s horrible for the homeowners on this block.”

“She single handedly devalued everybody’s home on this block,” said the landlord of 1955 Paulding Avenue.

“My office has received numerous complaints on this issue and I encourage them to continue reporting these complaints to 311,” said Jeremy Warneke, district manager of Community Board 11. “This issue will also be addressed at the board’s monthly District Service Cabinet Meeting.”

According to the NYC Department of Health, the residence is scheduled for an inspection. DOH conducted three health inspections of the residence in 2015.

Jungk, a longtime Paulding Avenue resident described as an active, friendly woman in her 50s or 60s, could not be reached for comment.

Reach Reporter Steven Goodstein at (718) 260-4599. E-mail him at sgoodstein@cnglocal.com.
Updated 5:05 pm, July 9, 2018
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