Neptune City

Dog Treat Factory Blamed For Stinky Situation in NJ Town

One neighbor complained of a smell so bad, it triggers "instant headaches until you're nauseous," while others likened it to "rotting dog food"

NBC Universal, Inc.

This is one stench you can blame on the dog. Sort of.

Homeowners in Neptune City are complaining about the smell coming from a dog treat manufacturing plant, which sells its products under the brand name Nylabone.

"It's nauseating. Instant headaches until like you're nauseous," said Linda Williamson, who leaves nearby the plant. Another neighbor likened the smell to "rotting dog food" — neither of which are welcoming scents for a neighborhood on the Jersey Shore.

The plant is immediately adjacent to the neighborhood, and both have been in Neptune City for years, though the actual manufacturing of dog treats was consolidated at the site not long ago. That's when neighbors said the worst of the smells starting drifting their way.

"Are we going to be able to solve it 100 percent? No, and I never promised 100 percent ... 100 percent is not realistically achievable so I wouldn't promise something that's not achievable," said Nylabone President Glen Axelrod. But he did say that the company has spent upwards of $2 million on odor abatement, charcoal filters and other such improvements in the past couple of years.

Axelrod also said what people are smelling is non-toxic, and is simply the process of making dog treats.

"It's basically the edible product that we make here. If it were a bakery, you'd be smelling baked food; if we were a steakhouse, you'd be smelling steak," he said.

Neighbors said there are issues of whether manufacturing is even allowed at the location under zoning laws, but Axelrod told NBC New York that the site fell udner non-confirming use years ago.

The debate over how bad the smell is to residents has dragged on and on, a frequent topic at council meetings where the mayor quoted one of his inspectors who has check out the plant just a couple of weeks ago.

"He even said how he hates doing it because he smells just like the place when he walks out," the mayor said.

Despite all the efforts from the plant to be a good neighbor, from painting a wall mural to aggressive tree planting along the adjacent residential streets, neighbors still complain.

"Now you plan a party or something in your backyard, you have to take it from outdoors and do it indoors. You can't enjoy your own yard in this beautiful neighborhood," said Linda Colucci.

While its not clear what legal actions the residents can take, they did say they were speaking with a lawyer on how they can proceed. Axelrod said that the company will continue to look for solutions to those odors that still escape as they make new flavors for Fido.

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