(WMC-TV) - The stench coming from 835 Stonewall Street in North Memphis would make you gag. It looks fairly well-kept from the outside. Inside is a different story. There's garbage everywhere and a rotten aroma neighbors can smell from across the street.
"They thought somebody was dead in there," said neighbor Tracye Blue. "Because the smell," she added. "You could sit on the porch and it was just awful," said Blue.
What was initially described as hundreds of animals were discovered inside the house Thursday morning following complaints by neighbors.
"Both domestic and wild animals," said public works deputy director Onzie Horne. "Cats, dogs, raccoons, rodents," he added.
Horne said the back door was left open when the former owner up and left months ago.
"She declared bankruptcy in February, abandoned the house, and moved out of state," said Horne.
"She never took her trash out," said neighbor Rona Pointer. "Just looks like she threw her food on the floor," she added. "I don't even know where she slept at," said Pointer.
Neighborhood development employees called in animal control when they discovered living things were still in the house. Workers left the front door open so any animals they were unable to get have a chance to get out.
It is unclear how many animals the former owner had or how many moved in when she left. Neighbors are just happy the sights and smells they've endured may soon be gone.
"Because it could contaminate the whole area and that's something people do not want," said neighbor Britney Jackson.
The city of Memphis considers this house a prime example of what are known as "shadow properties" people simply leave abandoned. Mayor A C Wharton is seeking tougher rules to hold owners of such houses more accountable.