They make their living cleaning out houses.
“There were reports of like 10 cats up in here.”
But nothing could have prepared workers charged with hauling away the contents from a home on Church Road in Dundalk with what they would find inside.
“Bed bugs, litter boxes overflowing, urine and feces,” said Ken Moore, “They were all over the floor, the steps, everything. It was hard to breathe because of the ammonia.”
Paramedics first became aware of the problem back in October when they responded to a report of an injured woman at the home and notified the health department.
A few weeks later, Baltimore County police answered a call to check on the welfare of her adult son.
“Once they stepped inside, the condition of this home was so horrific that they stepped right back out and called the fire department for hazmat uniforms,” said Ofc. Jennifer Peach, “It wasn't just that the cats and the feces from the cats was in this house. It was garbage in the house, expired and rotting food in the house and that led to...”
“Maggots and flies and bugs.”
This week, sheriff's deputies delivered foreclosure and eviction notices to the house, but the occupants had vanished along with most of their cats, although a few have emerged from the filth they left behind.
“They said he was sick. He was a hoarder,” said a next-door neighbor, Trish Ottone.
Their departure ends more than a decade of misery for Ottone, who says she had long feared for the welfare of the family next door and for her own health every time she stepped outside her front door.
“The smells just became... you couldn't stand it,” said Ottone, “It was... I can't even think of a word that fits what... It was disgusting... worse than disgusting.”
While neighbors say the ailing mother is now in a permanent care facility, police tracked down the son who has moved to an apartment with four cats and they all appeared to be in good health.