Owner of flea-infested home in Lansing picked up by police

Friday morning, the homeowner, 47-year-old Suzanne Marie Combs, was picked up by police. She is currently in the hospital receiving treatment.

Friday, family members showed up to the home on Park Avenue in Lansing. and were seen treating it for the fleas .

People living near the home in a Mid-Michigan neighborhood have had it, they say the condition of the home infested with fleas continues to worsen.

It’s gotten so bad they say fleas are now traveling from the abandoned home and onto their lawns, pets and are even making their way inside their homes.

“It’s been really bad for the past six months we’ve lived here,” said one neighbor who didn’t want to go on camera. “We'll bomb and they'll go away for a day or two and they’re right back because there are so many of them.”

“We've been parking in the street but they’re getting in our cars even, if you even pass the house, you get covered in them,” said a neighbor.

Another neighbor living nearby showed us the bites fleas in his home have left behind.

And if that’s not proof enough, FOX 47’s Clayton Cummins knocked on the door of the home in question to see if anyone was home and minutes later, Clayton was in the middle of the street with hundreds of fleas crawling up his pants.

“I’ve been doing this for 18 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Scott Sanford, from the City of Lansing Code Enforcement Division. Ingham County Animal control took three dogs from the property back in August of 2016. The City Code Enforcement then red tagged the home, deeming the conditions inside unlivable.

A warrant was issued for the homeowner, Suzanne Combs, on one count of animal cruelty. Combs also faces another count for not licensing her pets.

The problem: Combs hasn’t been seen for some time and it’s leaving the city's hands tied.

“Unfortunately the city does not have any process in place to be able to abate fleas, we have nothing,” said Sanford. “We can't even hire a contractor to go out there because this is private property and they do have rights, we don't have the right as municipality to go on to private property and abate this type of thing.”

In an attempt to track down Combs, News 10 was able to get in touch with her brother. “I really don't know where to get a hold of her at because I haven't talked to her in four years,” Combs brother said.

With the city unable to help and prevention not working, neighbors are desperate.

“Please someone help us, please,” said a nearby neighbor. “We don't know what else to do, like we don't want to even live here anymore but we have to because we own our home and we can't just up and leave.”

There is good news in all of this, there could be a change made to the ordinance that would allow the city to take care of this kind of problem. However, that can take some time. The Lansing city mayor must first make a recommendation, then hearings would be held with the city’s public safety council. If the ordinance passes, then the full city council would vote to add an ordinance. If action is going to be taken to add something like this -- now is the time as new codes are currently being adopted.

If you are worried about fleas in your area, Scott Sanford, from the City of Lansing Code Enforcement Division says it’s best to have your yard sprayed, along with making sure your pets are properly treated for fleas.

Sanford says the winter season will likely kill off the fleas as well.