When I was in 8th grade, a classmate of mine – a girl constantly the butt of “smelling like shit” jokes – was sent home from school one day for smelling bad.
Almost four years later, in early August of this year, the police showed up at her house in Solon, Ohio, responding to a call from a neighbor who had complained of a stench emanating from the house’s general direction. The neighbor had told the police that her family had been away on vacation.
The police approached the house equipped with respirators and specialized clothing provided by the fire department. As they drew near, they reported strong smells of urine, feces and ammonia. When they entered the yard, fleas actually began to attack them. This is where my former classmate lived with both her parents and two siblings.
When the police inspected the perimeter of the house, they saw dogs sitting on tables through the windows. They called the family and were given permission to enter the house via the garage door code.
Inside, the police found 25 puppies and dogs, 8 cats, 3 birds, 2 guinea pigs and a rabbit. Several of the animals were dead. “Every room in the house from the second floor bedrooms to the basement had animal feces on the floor and on the furniture…The second floor master bedroom had a few inches of dog feces packed down on the floor,” patrolman Brad Lender reported. All the windows were closed, and because the air conditioning was turned off, it was around ninety degrees. In the living room, there was a kiddy-pool filled with brown water, which the family apparently put there for the animals to drink from. Of the case, the Solon city prosecutor said, “This is the worst I’ve ever seen.”
The family had left for vacation on August 2, 2010. When they returned, the parents were charged with 39 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and 2 misdemeanor counts of child endangerment.
All the animals were taken into official custody. Disturbingly, all but a parakeet were euthanized [??]. Child services were put in control of the kids, one of which is the girl I went to school with.
I had a biology class with her last year. Every day I entered that class, I smelled something like poop and piss and puke permeating the entire room. Someone had tried to explain to me once that it was just that the girl was allergic to soap. I remember saying things like “No, but that doesn’t smell like body odor. That smells like throw up.”
From what I can remember, no one ever seemed care why she smelled like decaying bodies. And after the police raid had made the news, I heard a few students mention it noncommittally in passing. But that was it.