A South Bay company in charge of picking up road kill and dead farm animals has received a stern warning from Santa Clara County.
San Jose Tallow Company is accused of storing rotting carcasses in trucks parked in a Gilroy neighborhood. Residents said the stench was unbearable.
"It's disgusting," said a neighbor who did not want to be identified. "My kids have to smell it every day. And it smells like it's rotting."
Photos obtained by NBC Bay Area show trucks with animal fluid seeping from them. The trucks were carrying road kill, along with carcasses of horses, sheep and other dead farm animals.
Neighbors said they do not want to be identified in fear of retaliation for sounding the alarm. The property where the trucks were parked was just recently bought by the San Jose Tallow Company.
"They have contracts to handle to handle dead animals and convert them into tallow, which is a resource," said Kirk Girard with the Santa Clara County planning department.
But the county said storing the carcasses on the property off Pacheo Pass Highway is not allowed and has ordered the company to stop.
After a call from NBC Bay Area last week, inspectors showed up and ordered the company to remove the dead animals. The county is giving San Jose Tallow a short window to comply because of health and safety concerns.
"From the county's perspective, one of the golden rules is if you're going to do business with the county, you have to abide by regulations," Girard said.
San Jose Tallow on Monday said it has removed all the dead animals and are working with the county to find a solution. The company also said for now, due to the county order, all road kill will have to remain on the road and the company cannot pick up dead farm animals from veterinarians for disposal.
The county said the San Jose Tallow is already under criminal investigation for violation at another facility.