Do you really know your neighbors? You may think you do, but do you really? Well, one neighborhood thought they knew their neighbors well until they noticed a strange odor. Nobody could figure it out and put a finger on it. The smell became worse and worse over time, and neighbors became sick from it.
After a while, they realized the smell was coming from an abandoned house – what was inside? All were shocked by what the investigators found once they went inside the house.
In order to make the reading experience of this article more convenient, the article has been split up into multiple pages. At the end of each page, you will see a “next” button which will take you to the next page. Enjoy your reading!
There was such an abandoned house
A house is said to be abandoned when no one lives inside it, and no one comes to visit it. However, this abandoned house confused the neighbors. Even though they knew the smell was coming from the house, what surprised them was that they would see people coming in and out of the house.
Instead of calling the police, the neighbors decided to report the house overrun to city officials. Unfortunately, however, they were unable to do that because of an obstacle.
It wasn’t a vacant house
To report a home overrun, it needs to be vacant; however, this home wasn’t. What was surprising was that the stench was so bad, neighbors were confused as to how anyone could live inside of it. But they continued to watch the home and noticed people “living” there. After a while, the stench started to go away, and the neighbors weren’t so worried.
Maybe they had an infestation problem that they got under control. So, with the smell gone, the neighborhood went on back to their regular activities and go on with their lives. But that didn’t last too long.
The smell came back
The neighbors thought they didn’t have to deal with the stench anymore, but after everyone went back to their normal routine, the smell came back. But this time, it was different. The smell was even worse than before. So, the neighbors rallied together and decided to take action. They formed a meeting and discussed how they were going to handle this situation.
The final decision was to call the authorities and report the smell as a public nuisance. When they called the police, the authorities already had an idea of what the smell was. But were they right?
It was time to investigate the smell
The police were approved to investigate the home, and even brought along some of the complainants to the investigation. As the police didn’t know the property, they felt the complainants could help guide them around the home. But, the police didn’t really know what to expect. So, they tried their best to prepare for every situation.
Their team included wildlife experts, medical examiners, and specialists. To the police, the smell could be anything from a dead body to exotic animals.
The Wildlife Committee Members helped the police
Along with the authorities, the Wildlife Committee was also a part of the investigation team. One of the participants of the investigation was Soary Randrianjafizanaka, who was a part of the Wildlife Committee. The department gave her the task of helping the police with this case.
When it comes to smells, animal and wildlife officials are concerned, especially in countries like Madagascar, as the island has rich wildlife. Randrianjafizanaka was in the area and decided to join the investigation and see what was going on with the house. Though she had her assumptions, she didn’t think she would see what was inside.
Wait, this was in Madagascar?
Yes! The abandoned home was situated in Toliara, southwest Madagascar. The town of Toliara is stunning and has a reputation for its jaw-dropping scenery and ocean views. The residents of the town are quiet, as not much happens there. It’s a small and peaceful place to live in.
Yet, with all its beauty, comes people who want to abuse it. The city’s rich wildlife has become a spot for criminal activity, usually regarding the smuggling of wildlife, which is the authorities assumed the smell was animal-related.
Madagascar is well-prepared
Many may think because Madagascar is a small island, they wouldn’t have the resources to fight against criminal activity, but that’s not right. The Environmental Agency is a very well-established institution that prides itself on preserving the island. They deal with a variety of animal-related issues and have even rehabilitated exotic animals.
When it comes to animals, they know what they’re doing. This is why the police decided to include them in the investigation, as they’re the best prepared and most experienced. But, the police still didn’t know what they had on their hands.
The police arrived at the scene
As the police were arriving at the abandoned house, they could already smell the stench. But the strange thing was the smell wasn’t something they were able to pinpoint. It wasn’t anything they’d smelt before. Randrianjafizanaka wasn’t even able to identify the smell, which worried the authorities as she had the most experience with animals.
What was inside the house? They feared it would be something none of them had experienced. And certainly, once they went inside, they were right about that.
There was nothing unusual about the house – at first glance
When the team first saw the house, there was nothing strange about it, of course, aside from the smell. The house didn’t look suspicious; it was your normal house that looked like all the others in the area. In other words, it didn’t seem like there would be a problem.
Yet, the smell gave it away and revealed a dark secret that was happening behind closed doors. The home and its surroundings were quiet, and the team looked around it. Why would a nice house like this be abandoned? Something didn’t add up.
The team decided to do a deeper investigation
Walking around the property wasn’t enough; the team needed to take a look inside the home. Investigators even became lightheaded due to the smell. It was clear there was something seriously wrong going on inside. Though the smell wasn’t something they wanted to experience, they knew they needed to dig deeper.
Randrianjafizanaka hypothesized the smell must be coming from animal waste that was rotting inside the home. But was her guess the right one? Was the smell from an animal or from something else?
Were they sure the smell came from an animal?
Randrianjafizanaka hypothesized that the smell came from animal waste rotting inside the home, but was that the case? Or did the smell come from humans? Randrianjafizanaka couldn’t rule out the smell that may be caused by humans. In other words, they had no idea what was inside that home – that was the scary part.
Though the home looked abandoned, the police couldn’t ignore the countless reports of people entering and leaving the house. So they needed to prepare themselves before stepping one foot inside.
They started their investigation
The team decided they needed to go inside the house. The interior of the house gave the impression no one lived inside. The conditions were horrible, who could live in a home-like that? Suddenly, they heard a strange noise – was someone actually inside? That sound let them know they’re weren’t the only ones inside.
The team pressed forward and continued the search. They finally found where the sound was coming from – it was from humans. And once the people saw the police, they were shocked.
The sound of a shovel
The sound everyone was hearing was actually the sound of shovels. When the team found the people inside the home, they were digging holes in the ground. What made it even weirder was that they were digging as if they were in a rush. Mysterious and strange objects also surrounded the people.
What was going on? The scene was bizarre, and the team didn’t know how to react. The house wasn’t abandoned, and the people inside it were digging holes into the ground.
It was time to find out the truth
The team questions the people who were digging holes. And their behavior wasn’t normal and seemed very off to the police. In other words, they were acting weird, almost as if they were trying to hide something. Naturally, their off behavior intensified the situation.
Luckily, the police were well trained in deception and weren’t going to let these people get away with their crimes. When the team first entered the room, one person dropped their shovel, just like how you would if you were caught doing something bad. So what were they doing?
The suspects were arrested
Oh, did we mention, when the team walked into the room they were shoveling in, they raised their hands in the air as if they knew they were going to get arrested for their actions? Yes, that actually happened. The team knew something bad was going on right away.
So, without question, they followed protocol and arrested and secured the suspects before continuing to examine the rest of the house. The team needed to know what they were up to, so it was time to check the rest of the rooms. And it didn’t take long for them to discover the truth.
The house was in mayhem
The team didn’t expect to walk into a palace, but they also didn’t expect the house to be completely trashed inside. When they walked into the house was in chaos. None of the rooms were functioning properly, and there was no electricity. The entire house looked like it had never been cleaned before.
Aside from the mess, the team also noticed the foul smell that filled the home. While they were distracted by the home, they didn’t realize the floor was moving. It freaked them out and took a couple of minutes to understand what was happening.
Carpet? No, more like a sea of tortoises
When the team first entered the house, they thought it was flooring material. But when they looked again, they realized it was actually a sea of tortoises. The floor was covered in them, which was why they didn’t see the animals at first glance. The entire team was naturally shocked by the discovery and was disbelieved at what they saw.
Randrianjafizanaka was able to identify the tortoises based on their markings but didn’t understand how they all managed to get into this house. The team couldn’t even walk through a room without stepping on one.
These tortoises were desperate for help
Upon entering the home, Randrianjafizanaka knew right away these tortoises needed to get out of this horrendous place. If not, they could all end up dying from infection, dehydration, and malnutrition. It wasn’t looking good for them.
But, Randrianjafizanaka knew they needed to find a place that could comfortably house all these tortoises, and they needed to find a place fast. The longer they stayed in the house, the closer they were to die. With a house full of tortoises, they knew they were going to need all the hands they could get.
But these weren’t any ordinary tortoises
The minute Randrianjafizanaka spotted the tortoises, she knew she had a special case on her hands. The tortoises were extremely rare as the breed is known as radiated tortoises. The radiated tortoises are very shy, hence why you don’t see them much in nature. They prefer to stay out of human sight, and this is why only a few of them have been spotted in Madagascar.
They have special markings on their shells, but that isn’t the only thing making them stand out. They’re famously known for being very docile, which now explains why the smugglers chose the radiated tortoises as their animal of choice.
An easy target for poachers
When it comes to poachers, they usually want to go after species that are endangered; that way, they can make more money off of them. So tortoises are the perfect animal to smuggle in and out of their homes. But why do people buy tortoises? What’s the reason? Well, some people buy them as pets.
But they’re also delicacies; in other words, they become someone’s meal. But regardless of whether they’re used as pets or for food, smuggling them is highly illegal, especially since they’re almost on the brink of extinction.
These tortoises were endangered
Before humans started to invade important habitats and ecosystems, there was a time when tortoises weren’t endangered. But by the 90s, their numbers had drastically dwindled to their total population of 12 million. Though it sounds big, that’s pretty small considering how large our planet really is.
By 2010, the numbers dropped to 6 million, and since then, it continues to decline. But in one small house, it held 9,000 tortoises. If they died, it would have been a huge blow to the population.
But there was a Brightside
Of course, the conditions these tortoises were living in are unimaginable and shameful. Not to mention, most of these tortoises would have been killed if they stayed in the house. But the bright side was that the team found these animals. If not, all 9,000 tortoises would continue to go through this harrowing experience.
But now they had a chance at life and a better place. Though it sounds like a plan, it wasn’t an easy one to follow through. They had a huge challenge on their hands.
The discovery was heartbreaking
Though the authorities were happy to catch the poachers and save the lives of these tortoises, the truth was heartbreaking. The tortoises probably wouldn’t have made it another week, as they were all dehydrated and malnourished.
The best veterinarians couldn’t help many of them, even though they worked endlessly to save the lives of these helpless animals.
Their condition was so bad, that the vets weren’t sure if the tortoises were going to make it. The whole event was shocking for everyone, including the neighbors.
The neighborhood was in shock
People were complaining about the house, but no one actually knew what was going on. Once neighbors found out about the discovery, they were in complete shock. They had no idea of the crimes being committed, and couldn’t believe the house was holding 9,000 tortoises.
The neighbors never noticed any tortoises being smuggled in and out of the house, which was very confusing for many people. If they didn’t call the cops, the poachers would have continued doing what they were doing, without getting caught.
This wasn’t an unusual case
What’s crazy is that this form of animal cruelty isn’t unusual around the world. Many criminals have been caught and charged for animal cruelty, yet, it’s still happening. It looks like the amount of money a poacher can make, outweighs the time they will do in jail.
People forget that humans are also animals, and we all deserve respect. Sadly, not much has happened in the animal industry, specifically the pet industry, and animals are still being gravely mistreated for profit.
They had a problem on their hands
During the rescue, the team managed to secure all 9,000 tortoises. However, not all of them made it. Out of the nine thousand, 1000 of them died due to illness. So, only 8,000 survived. But that doesn’t mean they were in amazing condition. These animals were malnourished and forever scarred from this experience.
The team wasn’t sure how many would pull through, but they had another problem: where were all these tortoises going to go? They didn’t want these tortoises to experience the same treatment again.
They had to find the tortoises a home
There came a moment when the team realized these tortoises wouldn’t know how to survive in the wild. They spent most of their lives in dire conditions in captivity, how would they know how to survive in the wild? So, this was when the team knew they had to rehome all of them.
All 8000 of them. But if they didn’t rehome them, the tortoises would be revictimized by poachers or die due to a lack of food. So, the team organized a group of experts to make sure these tortoises were fed and kept in safe conditions.
What happened to the tortoises?
So, what happened to all the tortoises? Where did they go? Well, today, the tortoises are living their best life as they’re being fed and given proper shelter. There’s a special team that’s given the role of taking care of them, and right now, they just want to get these tortoises rehabilitated.
They rescued around 8,000 tortoises, so they have a lot of animals to take care of. This project is a great way to help the tortoise population and help them to a healthy state, as that is what really matters.
Prison won’t be fun
For the people who were caught shoveling in the house, the law was slammed on them. They weren’t only charged with animal abuse. The community pushed the courts to enforce the law and truly give them a punishment that fits the crime.
So, all people involved received long-term prison sentences, acting as a deterrent for people who are considering committing a similar crime. In the end, the criminals received what they deserved, and now, people can understand just how serious animal abuse really is.