Two teen boys have been removed from their parents' Georgia home that had been in deplorable conditions, police said.
Greg and Jackie Tate face child cruelty charges for the conditions Snellville police say their 15- and 17-year-old sons had to endure, WSB-TV and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The Gwinnett County Health Department has posted imminent health hazard warning signs on the home.
Pictures taken by authorities show dishes piled high in the kitchen
and trash on the floors, along with cat feces and urine. Detectives say many of the seasoned cops couldn't handle the smell.
"You could see just roaches and flies just all over the place when you're walking through the house. It just hits you in the face. I can't imagine putting my kids into that," said Snellville
police Detective Orlando Concepcion.
Investigators showed WSB-TV's Tony Thomas pictures of where a 17-year-old boy was sleeping. One photo showed a stained mattress on the floor with trash and dirty clothes piled high.
Investigators said that when
they pulled up the mattress, roaches and fleas scuttled out from under the bed.
"It just makes you sick to your stomach," Concepcion said. "Once you get to the front door – just the aroma from inside – feces and cat urine, it just knocks you out.”
"The boys dressed fairly well, fairly normal. They dressed nice, matter of fact,” said neighbor Virgil Brownlee.
Investigators said the boys
appeared healthy and were attending high school. In a police report, one officer wrote, "They appeared to be unaffected by the amount of clutter and said they had been lazy, which is the reason the house is the way it is."
Animal Control officers were first called to the home Friday on a report of several cats running around the property. Authorities seized 11 cats and then notified state welfare workers when they saw the condition inside the home.
Neighbors said the Tates have lived in the home for years,
and the outside showed no signs of the deplorable conditions inside the house.
"I would be terrified, like, getting some type of disease – E. coli or something," said neighbor Auset Whatley.
Whatley said Jackie Tate had been her Gwinnett County School bus driver for several years. School
district officials said she drove a bus from 2005 until May 2014.
"I'm going to go vacuum my kid's room. I mean, seriously, how could you let your kids live that way?"
asked neighbor Jenna Boone.
Officials said the boys are now living with their grandparents.