Fed up, Tampa woman calls 8 On Your Side about neighbor's trash - WJTV News Channel 12

Fed up, Tampa woman calls 8 On Your Side about neighbor's trash dump

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Barbara Varon is fed up with mounds of trash and debris in her neighbor's backyard. There's even an old mattress that a pit bull hangs out on.

Varon says the pile of junk has been there at least six months and is getting larger and larger. And now, it's even worse than the eyesore. The trash attracted rats that run over to her property.

"At first, we saw them over there, running over the debris piles.  Now, he's raising pit bulls, so my thought is the pit bulls are probably chasing the rats, which are coming over here," Varon said.

Varon thought this would be against the city's code ordinances, so she called Tampa Code Enforcement. But Varon says a code enforcement dispatcher told her there was nothing that could be done, since the junk isn't visible from the street.

"That's when I called 8 On Your Side because I was in tears," she said.

One of the challenges for code enforcement is if there's a 6-foot privacy fence, they're not allowed to look over it. But as in this case, if there are holes in the fence, they can peer through the fence.

We sent photos to the head of Tampa Code Enforcement, and Officer David Daubar stopped by the makeshift dump.

"Nothing has been done, and actually it looks like there is more than when I was first here," Daubar said.

Tenant Estanisleo Blanco told us a tree fell on his house last year and caused water damage.

"I had to tear all of that out, and I had nowhere to put it except for my backyard," Blanco said. He says he tried to repair the house but got in over his head.

"I called somebody up, like a junk hauling service," he said. "It was going to be $1,500. I don't have $1,500."

Instead of fining the tenant, Blanco signed him up for a city program that will remove the junk for free.

"On his behalf, if he can show some initiative and bring it to the front of the right of way," he said. "We're actually going to have Clean City do because I think there's a little more hardship going on."

Varon says she couldn't be more thrilled.

"I called you," she said. "You got involved, and before I was even home, code enforcement was sitting in my driveway waiting for me."

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