Neighbors of the Nestle-Purina Petcare dog food factory in Denver have filed a class action lawsuit against the company over the “noxious odor” the facility emits that causes their eyes to water, according to a report.

Robert Fields and Lorena Ortiz allege in their lawsuit that the smell permeates as many as 2,000 homes, as well as local parks, schools, libraries and businesses, the Denver Post reported.

The stench has forced residents to file complaints with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. They allege the department found the odors exceeded state standards.

“I would describe the smell as rancid,” two residents are quoted as saying in a complaint cited in the filing. “It’s like someone barfed in your backyard and then it baked in the sun and then you put a fan on the smell to keep it circulating.”

The awful smell has been emanating from the Nestle-Purina Petcare factory in Denver for years. Denver Post via Getty Images

More than 50 additional neighbors have documented the olfactory overload, according to the lawyers who brought the suit, filed in US District Court of Colorado on Tuesday.

The plaintiffs are requesting a judge declare the Purina plant a nuisance for failing to control the odors it emits and fault the company for negligence, The Denver Post reported. They’re additionally demanding an unspecified amount in damages.

Nestle-Purina has failed to maintain the required equipment to mitigate the terrible smell despite years of complaints from residents, according to the suit.

The north Denver plant first opened in 1930. It produced mainly livestock feed until 1972 when it pivoted to pet food.

Purina dog cho truck
The factory has been in its location since 1930. LightRocket via Getty Images

A Jan. 31 complaint cited in the lawsuit claims that  “At least once a week… the smell is so strong it makes you gag.” 

Another complaint from Aug. 2022 alleges that the smell is “so toxic it’s making our eyes water over a mile away.”

State health department officials measured the air quality around the local library in Nov. 2021 and found  two exceedances of state air quality standards, according to the lawsuit.

Lorie Westhoff, a Nestle-Purina spokeswoman, told The Denver Post the company does not comment on litigation, but said “we have remained committed to being the best neighbor we can be, and that won’t change.”

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