Animal hoarding to the extreme - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Animal hoarding to the extreme

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

City workers call it the worst hoarding case they have ever seen.

"The cats, dogs, raccoons, rodents, the feces build up was inexplicable," says Deputy Director of Public Works Neighborhood Improvement Onzie Horne.

Hundreds of cats, dogs and raccoons were found inside a home on Stonewall Street in Memphis Thursday afternoon, many of them dead. This hoarding case was so bad, it even brought the Mayor down for a visit.

Neighbors say the smell is unbearable inside.

 "The smell is like feces and urine and mold and rot mixed together," says neighbor Rona Pointer.

Neighbors say they never expected anything from the woman living at this house. They say they kept the yard tidy and clean, but the inside is a different story.

"I was like, how does she do it? How can somebody sleep in that and be immune to that smell? It's just disgusting," says Pointer.

But it may not be the just owner's doing: She has not lived in the house since February.

"She fell up on hard times and couldn't keep up the house and she surrendered the house to the bankruptcy court," says Horne.

City officials say after bankruptcy court, the mortgage company never recorded the foreclosure so they did not have to take care of the property.

"The mortgage company will take them in order to avoid the responsibility of maintaining the property and keeping it in compliance with the code," says Horne.

In cases like this where the property is abandoned and not recorded as a foreclosure, the city has to take it over. Horne says the burden falls on the taxpayers because city workers now have to maintain the property and sometimes pay to have it demolished.

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