Outside of the a pink suburban home in El Cajon, the stench is unbearable. This is the home where rescue workers found 78 small dogs, living in their own feces and urine.
“The smell was just so powerful that it would make you dry heave,” neighbor Ramon Ramirez said, adding that in the summer it was much worse.
Ramirez and other neighbors said the man who rents the home is friendly and works long hours. They had no idea what was hidden in his home.
“I knew that he had a lot of dogs, and I knew the smell was the dogs defecating and urinating inside the house because he never walked the dogs,” Ramirez said.
Several neighbors 10News spoke with said they guessed the man had five to ten small dogs inside the home, but never imagined there were close to 80.
“I knew he had a lot of dogs, because they would bark," Ramirez said. "You could hear at least five dogs barking."
Thursday morning a different neighbor called police over the nauseating stench.
“I knew the smell was bad but I thought he was like picking up after himself and just putting it in bags or something," Ramirez said. "I had no idea there was inches and inches of manure and urine in the house."
Rescuers brought the 78 small dogs outside - for some, like the puppies, it was their first time breathing fresh air.
A San Diego Humane Society veterinarian said the dogs have red, itchy skin and respiratory problems, but have been well-fed.
Some of the dogs rescued were pregnant, others elderly and some just days old.
Authorities said the resident of the house was cooperative and willingly gave the dogs to the Humane Society, where they are getting medical treatment and - eventually - new homes.
“Surprisingly, the owner of these dogs seemed grateful for our help; it was clear he cared about the animals but he couldn't keep up with their care,” San Diego Humane Society President and CEO Gary Weitzman said in a news release.