OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - Horrendous is the word officials are using to describe a home on Denson Drive in Opelika after law enforcement officials received an anonymous complaint Tuesday.
"The house was not very clean so they contacted Buddy Bruce to come and take a look at the dogs and check their welfare and also the Lee County Department of Human Resources to check on living conditions," explains Lt. Shane Healey of the Opelika Police Department.
The family of three, one adult and two children are renting the home, just down the street from Opelika Middle School.
Upon entering the house, officials found the family was hoarding animals, 18 puppies and dogs, a lizard and a hedgehog.
"The first thing you notice going into the house was the smell of ammonia, the urine smell was horrendous. It hits you at the door. Of course, you couldn't walk through the house without stepping on feces, it was everywhere," explains Lee County Rabies Inspector, Dr. Buddy Bruce.
Bruce says breathing in the amount of waste that was in the home causes major health concerns.
One of the children was even found with feces in between their toes.
"The health conditions of the animals didn't look that bad. They'd obviously been getting food and given water with the amount of feces and urine in the house," says Bruce.
The owners released the animals without a fight to Opelika Police Department who gave custody of the dogs to the Lee County Humane Society where they are being evaluated for adoption.
DHR determined the house to be unlivable and created a safety plan for the family allowing them to stay somewhere else.
"Animal hoarding occurs more than people realize and people want to own more animals then they can physically or financially and that's not a good situation," says Bruce.
The case remains under investigation.