GARY, Ind. (CBS) — Neighbors of could not have believed what they found out about a couple in Gary, Ind., Thursday night as police and firefighters began walking into and out of their house.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports, what started as a simple well-being check on a couple in the 2100 block of West 51st Place in Gary ended with their house being emptied because of unlivable conditions.

The Northwest Indiana Times reports the property outside the house appears taken care of. The newspaper described the lawn as “perfectly manicured” and the trees as “well-trimmed.”

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports

But when police came on Thursday evening, a woman answered the door covered in flea bites, the newspaper reported. Inside, 13 cats and four dogs were found.

One of the cats bit a firefighter several times and will be tested for disease, the newspaper said.

Feces was everywhere, and black mold was also spotted. Part of the hot water heater had begun to corrode, and the basement was full of standing water that the homeowner said had been there for years, the Times reported.

The woman was taken to the hospital, the newspaper reported.