INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Animal Care Services removed 28 animals from a home on the city’s south side Wednesday after neighbors began questioning a foul odor that seemed to hang in the air outside the residence.

The next day, IACS confirmed that 18 dogs and 10 cats had been removed from the home in the 3100 block of W. Epler Avenue on Wednesday afternoon and taken to a shelter to be placed under hold. The length of the hold, IACS said, will be determined by the circumstances of the investigation.

Originally, IACS said “around 13 dogs” were taken from the home, but neighbors on scene attested to an even larger number of dogs living within the house that used to once be a church.

“I personally witnessed 36 dogs… 36 dogs come out of the house so far,” said neighbor John David Peterson, who lives near the home in question at the intersection of Epler Avenue and Concord Street.

John said prior to Wednesday he had no idea the people living in the Epler home even owned dogs. Neither did David Peterson, who also lives across from the former church. Both David and John had smelled the strong odor but had never seen any dogs being let out of the house to play or even to go to the bathroom.

“It’s so sad and frustrating because animals are the heart and soul of humans and we need to treat them better,” David said, expressing his frustration and sorrow that the animals had never even seen the light of day.

John claimed his wife witnessed an animal rescue worker arrive at the Epler home on Tuesday to investigate the reports of a strong odor emitting from the house. The occupants of the home didn’t let the worker inside, according to John.

Before IACS arrived on scene Wednesday, John claimed to have seen a woman who lived in the Epler house “kidnap” 24 of the dogs and leave before animal services arrived.

“People like that don’t need to have animals,” John said. “They don’t deserve to have pets. The animals didn’t do anything wrong… the animals love you unconditionally no matter what.”

Indianapolis police said they are looking into the matter and have not provided any further details at this time. IACS said only that the animals were found to have “multiple care and treatment violations” but didn’t comment further on their condition. The animals are being evaluated and cared for by the shelter’s medical staff.

Kennels continue to fill at the animal shelter and the IACS reminds residents that adoptions are currently free.

“Taking in these extra animals means we have zero kennels available for other animals who may need to come to the shelter,” said IACS Deputy Director Katie Trennepohl. “We are encouraging anyone in the community to come and adopt to help us free up some kennel space.”