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Inside the filthy NYC ‘squatter’ home where cats, dogs starved in stomach-turning conditions

The squatter who kept more than a dozen emaciated cats and dogs trapped inside a Queens home had turned it into a stomach-turning house of horrors, according to police and a tour of the site by The Post.

Cory Elder, 43, kept the house in the Rockaways packed with poop, junk, drugs and even pornographic pics, before he was arrested Monday and charged with animal neglect, torturing and injuring animals, drug possession and possession of stolen property, police said.

Cops believe at least some of the starved animals were stolen, along with a collection of license plates from various states and other items — which were eyeballed by The Post during a tour of the house.

“I went away, I came back and he was here,” said the homeowner, who asked not to be named. “He broke in through this window in May and he brought his girlfriend, two kids and 13 dogs. He’s been terrorizing the whole neighborhood.

The Queens squatter house was piled with junk and animal poop when the owner returned after Memorial Day, she said. Jack Morphet/ New York Post
The Queens squatter house was piled with junk and animal poop when the owner returned after Memorial Day, she said. Jack Morphet/ New York Post
Police said at least 11 dogs and two cats were found inside the Rockaways home taken over by squatters in May. NYPD
Police said at least 11 dogs and two cats were found inside the Rockaways home taken over by squatters in May. NYPD

“There is dog poop all over the floor,” she said. “It is sickening. Every step you take is poop.”

The homeowner said she returned from her five-day Memorial Day vacation to find one of the apartments in her duplex home transformed into a nightmare, with a crew of uninvited guests holed up inside.

On Wednesday, there was a layer of poop in the basement alongside a stack of trash, and so much junk piled up throughout the unit that it was difficult to get around. The squatter had also ripped out security cameras and cut the electricity to the adjoining apartment, making it essentially uninhabitable in winter, according to the owner.

There were also scattered car parts in the living room — including the hood of a vehicle — clothes with the tags still on them and car license plates from Texas, Georgia, Maryland, Arkansas and elsewhere scattered throughout.

“The first day I came back I saw a car in my backyard and the backyard is not a driveway,” the homeowner said. “We called 911 and when they showed up, we approached the property with the police.

“He wasn’t here but his girlfriend was. She lied to the police and said, ‘I’ve been living here for three months,” she said. “I had only been away for five days.”

But the alleged lie was enough to throw the homeowner into a legal tangle — under city law individuals can claim residency if they occupy a property for at least 30 days, making them hard to dislodge.

The NYPD put out an alert to find the owners of the emaciated dogs and cats found inside a Queens home.
The NYPD put out an alert to find the owners of the emaciated dogs and cats found inside a Queens home.
The basement of the Rockaways apartment, occupied by more than a dozen cats and dogs, was littered with poop. Jack Morphet/ New York Post
The basement of the Rockaways apartment, occupied by more than a dozen cats and dogs, was littered with poop. Jack Morphet/ New York Post

One neighbor said they called 311 six weeks ago to complain about animal neglect after some of the dogs were tied up on the front porch and left unattended.

“There was incessant barking but it sounded more like crying or yelping,” said the neighbor, who did not want to be identified. “We only ever saw three dogs but they looked completely emaciated. He tied them up on the porch outside the front door one day.

“They always stayed inside the house and the music was loud at night, like they were having parties.”

The owner of this Queens duplex said she went on vacation for Memorial Day and returned to find a squatter moved in. Jack Morphet/ New York Post
The owner of this Queens duplex said she went on vacation for Memorial Day and returned to find a squatter moved in. Jack Morphet/ New York Post

The homeowner said she had to hire a lawyer and took the case to court after an eviction order was ignored, only catching a break when Elder was picked up by the cops and charged this week.

With repairs now underway, she still fears the headache isn’t entirely over.

“I feel vindicated now that he’s gone,” she added. “[But] I’m worried he’s coming back for vengeance.”

Meanwhile, the NYPD sent out an alert trying to identify the owners of the emaciated dogs found inside the home, many of which are believe to have been stolen, police said.