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Couple faces charges for dirty house

An Altoona couple faces charges over what police say was a filthy house.

Megan Minnoia, 31, and James Pfahler, 34, both of Altoona, were charged this week over an incident on June 21, in which police allegedly discovered the couple and their two children living in squalid conditions on the 100 block of East Walnut Avenue.

According to the charges, Pfahler was on the couch in the living room when police arrived and a large amount of trash was on the floor along with two mattresses stacked on top of each other in the middle of the room. Officers found a metal tin filled with a small amount of marijuana, along with a red and blue pot pipe on a table near Pfahler, police noted.

When police walked in the kitchen, a large amount of trash bags, pizza boxes and empty two liter soda bottles were scattered in the corners of the room and there was no space on the counters or table due to trash. In the refrigerator and freezer, spoiled food that smelled was found, and flies hovered around the room. A dog cage that was covered with feces and urine was also in the kitchen, police added.

Pfahler allegedly told police he lives in the house with his wife, stepson and daughter — ages 13 and 9 — and the house had been in this condition for about 1.5 to two months. There were several used needles in the sink of the bathroom inside a small box and several small white prescription pills. Pfahler could not show proof he had a prescription for them.

Inside the 9-year old’s bedroom, there was trash and dog feces on the floor. The bed was a “warped mattress” with a sleeping bag being used as a blanket and no pillows, police said. The children’s bedroom doors connect, and police said old furniture and dog feces were found scattered throughout.

Police said the 13-year old did not have a bed to sleep in or clothes to wear. The 13-year old claimed he is unable to sleep in the bedroom because of the mess. Minnoia told police the children usually stay with family friends because of the mess, and when the children do sleep at home, they sleep with her on the mattresses in the living room. Because of the spoiled food in the kitchen, she usually provides the children with food from fast food restaurants, police said.

Pfahler faces misdemeanor charges that include endangering the welfare of a child, drug possession, possession of a small amount of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Minnoia faces a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 7, before Magisterial District Judge Dan DeAntonio at Central Court.

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