EAST LIVERPOOL - Several residents of an East End neighborhood addressed City Council Monday night about drug-related activities taking place in rental property on Pennsylvania Avenue.
One of the residents said a young woman recently rented the apartment above her and has been dealing in heroin and crack cocaine as well as raising pit bull puppies for dog fighting.
"Her boyfriend does the same," the woman said of her upstairs neighbor.
The landlord, who lives in East Palestine, was advised of the neighbor's activities yet "he lets her stay there," the woman told council, adding with emotion that she has lived in her home for 15 years but now, "I have to have my son stay with me because I'm scared."
Her next-door neighbor has lived in her home for 55 years and said, "I'm scared. My husband died 27 years ago and I've never been scared until now."
She praised city police officers for their diligence in patrolling the area, saying it makes her feel less fearful when she sees the cruisers pass by.
A third woman also complained about the situation, saying she has also seen puppies being beaten, kicked and thrown in addition to the drug issues. She said the Humane Society of Columbiana County was contacted and is investigating.
"I raised my kids there and now I have a grandbaby. I don't want that (kind of activity)," she told council.
The same landlord owns this and another house nearby which also has drug activity, they said.
Police Chief John Lane assured council and the residents, "We're trying, but it's a process (to arrest the perpetrators)."
President of Council John Torma asked whether council should contact the landlord, but Clerk Pat Scafide a dispatcher for the police department said a message was left and a management company returned the call, saying the landlord would be advised.
Councilman Ryan Stovall said city ordinance provides for landlords to be charged if three such incidents are logged within 90 days on their properties, but assured the women the city police department is trying, including joining forces with the township police department for which he is an officer.
"We know who the players are. People ask why we can't just kick in their doors. The U.S. Constitution applies to everybody, including drug dealers and crackheads," he said.
He said the problem is generally due to out-of-town landlords renting to these types of tenants.
The residents were commended for having the courage to come forward with their concerns.
Police reported receiving numerous phone calls throughout the day Friday about drug activity in the 1600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, and they determined the activity was taking place at 1623 Pennsylvania Avenue, rented to Amanda Delay, 28, who had an outstanding warrant.
Officers went to the home and could see Delay through a window, and when they knocked on the door, a man inside answered then yelled for Delay, saying, "Amanda, the po-po are here."
Several others were also inside the home, according to police, who took Delay into custody on the warrant.
An amount of cash, suspected crack cocaine and marijuana were also seized, with tests to be done and additional charges pending upon receipt of lab tests.