DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. – It's a stench you can smell down the street.
On Thursday, firefighters and Davidson County deputies ventured into a Davidson County home, wearing masks for breathable air and spraying bug spray on themselves to ward off any fleas.
Inside, officers found several dead cats, feces, trash and so much more.
Neighbors had complained about more than a dozen cats roaming around the house and an odor reaching neighboring houses.
"I personally counted 12 to 15 cats there in the yard and around the house," said William Freeman, who lives two doors down.
He says this has been a problem for years.
"They lay outside on the porches, on driveways, in the streets, next door neighbor's houses," said Freeman. "You can smell feces."
It's a smell that's even more potent at Kelly Ponchak's house.
"I just close my nose and hold my breath," she said. "It's not a very pleasant smell."
She lives right across the street.
"That odor is—well you can't get it out. It's permeating," she said. "If you walk around the side of the house, that's the smell. And 10 times more because it's inside of a house."
The firefighters and deputies investigating the home seemed to agree.
They shared a small bottle of peppermint oil to put next to their noses in order to diffuse the smell while working.
While the stench is troublesome for the neighbors, they're also concerned with the well-being of the animals.
"I believe the pets should have a good home. The cats I've seen that come over in our yard have just been famished," said Ponchak. "They don't look like they're being fed very well."
FOX8 is told that animal control managed to round up most of the cats, but there were a few stragglers running around on Thursday.
This investigation is still ongoing as officials work to determine what, if any, charges will be filed.