The Department of Health’s Vector Control & Environmental Services division investigates complaints of unsanitary conditions in homes and apartments per the Allen County Code Title 10 Article 12, Public Health Hazards. Unsanitary conditions can include insect or rodent infestations, large amounts of animal or human waste, clutter throughout the living area, no operational utilities (heat, electricity or hot water) and/or extreme uncleanliness.
The department coordinates inspections with the Allen County Building Department, Adult Protective Services, Indiana Child Protective Services, Fort Wayne Neighborhood Code Enforcement, New Haven Code Enforcement, and the appropriate animal control agency – Allen County Animal Control/Sheriff’s Department, Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control, and New Haven Police Department.
If you would like to make a complaint regarding unsanitary conditions, please call us at (260) 449-7459. Be prepared to provide the address of the residence and a description of the conditions. We attempt to respond within 1 business day of receiving complaints. Complaints can be anonymous but any information provided will be considered a matter of public record.
Below you will find more information on conditions that can lead to public health nuisances that affect human health and the environment.
Abandoned Refrigerators & Freezers
Refrigerators and freezers should not be stored outside with the doors still attached as this represents a safety hazard. Children can enter the appliance and become trapped when they are unable to re-open the door.
In addition, freon appliances (refrigerators, air conditioners, freezers, etc.) cannot be set out for garbage collection. Due to federal regulations under the Clean Air Act, the freon must be removed by a licensed person/company before the appliance is sent to the landfill or recycled (the preferred alternative).
The following companies will collect freon appliances for a small fee. The Department of Health does not endorse these companies; the list is provided as a courtesy.
A-1 Mark’s Appliance, Inc. ( 260) 422-5700
A-1 will collect at the home for a small cost or you can drop it off. There is a lower cost for dropping the appliance off. All appliances are recycled or reused.
OmniSource (260) 422-5541
The customer must bring the appliance to OmniSource. There is no curbside collection. There is a small cost if the Freon is still in the appliance. If the Freon and compressor are removed according to government regulations, there is no charge. OmniSource recycles the appliances.
Wisman’s Appliance (260) 483-0575
Wisman’s will collect at the curb for a small cost. If the appliance is dropped off, there is a smaller cost. Appliances are recycled.
Hoarding is a general term for a mental condition that leads people to excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value.
A person with hoarding disorder begins to collect an abundance of materials that take over the living space of the home. He/she feels that all of the materials are special and experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of these items.
The problems with hoarding are insect and/or rodent infestations and decreased access to escape routes from the home. Pest control cannot occur when there are hiding places in the materials. Windows and doors become blocked when the materials are piled up in front of them.
There are times when the hoarding is not severe and there are no health and safety issues. In those instances, the Department of Health will work with the occupant to reduce the materials in the home, a process that might take weeks to months.
When there is a pest infestation or escape routes are not available in the home, the Department of Health will contact the appropriate housing agency to assist in removing the occupant from the home until the hoarding and pest infestation issues have been addressed.
Trash & Debris, Un-Rimmed Tires, and Open Containers
Rodents and other wildlife need food, water and a place to hide or nest. Mosquitoes need small, stagnant bodies of water to breed and grow. When food trash, rubbish, un-rimmed tires, dog feces, brush piles, and open containers are allowed to accumulate outside a home or business, mosquitoes and pests flourish.
Trash and dog feces can be properly disposed of or stored in sealable trash cans. Tires can be recycled for small fee at several area tire centers. (see Tire Recycling List). Brush dumps are available in Allen County. Scrap metal can be recycled. Open containers should be emptied and stored inside.
If collecting rain water for gardening, place screens over the containers to prevent mosquito breeding and providing drinking water for wildlife.
Composting is beneficial, as it helps the garden grow and reduces yard waste entering the landfills. Done correctly, composting will provide free, nutrient-loaded soil. Meat products, eggs, and cat/dog feces should not be used in composting, as it will attract rodents and flies and produce a nuisance odor. Below is information on how to compost.
- Fort Wayne-Allen County Backyard Composting
- Household Composting Methods (Purdue University)
- How to Make Compost (HGTV.com)
- Backyard Composting (IDEM)
Un-Maintained Swimming Pools
During the months of April through October, un-maintained swimming pools (in-ground, above-ground and kiddie pools) provide a habitat for mosquitoes to flourish. At all times, swimming pools with unclear water pose a danger to children and adults who might fall in and drown and not be visible from above.
Swimming pools must be maintained, removed, filled in or properly covered. The cover must be tight or sloped so rain water and leaves cannot collect on it. A loose cover holding water can also provide a breeding habitat for mosquitoes.