Neighbors sue Denver Nestle-Purina Petcare plant over ‘noxious’ smell

Residents living near a Nestle Purina Petcare dog food plant in Denver have reportedly filed a class action lawsuit against the company, claiming they are left teary-eyed by “noxious odors” emanating from the plant.

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

The odor forced residents to file complaints with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which they say determined the odor exceeded state standards.

“The smell is best described as awful,” two residents wrote in a complaint cited in the lawsuit. “It’s like someone vomited in their backyard and it was baking in the sun and they have a fan running to keep the smell circulating.”

For years, a terrible odor has been emanating from the Nestle Purina Petcare plant in Denver. The Denver Post via Getty Images

More than 50 other nearby residents have also recorded symptoms of olfactory overload, according to lawyers who filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Colorado on Tuesday.

According to The Denver Post, the plaintiffs are asking a judge to declare the Purina plant a nuisance and hold the company negligent for failing to control the odors. They are also seeking unspecified damages.

The lawsuit alleges that Nestle Purina failed to maintain necessary equipment to mitigate the severe odors, despite years of complaints from residents.

The North Denver plant first opened in 1930.

The company produced primarily livestock feed until 1972, when it switched to pet food.

Purina Dog Chocola Track
The factory has been at this location since 1930. LightRocket via Getty Images

“At least once a week … the smell is so strong that it makes me nauseous,” reads a Jan. 31 complaint cited in the lawsuit.

Another complaint from August 2022 claims the smell is “so toxic it can bring tears to your eyes from over a mile away.”

According to the lawsuit, state health department officials measured the air quality around a local library in November 2021 and found it to exceed state air quality standards in two locations.

Nestle Purina spokesperson Lorie Westhoff told The Denver Post that the company doesn’t comment on lawsuits, but said, “We strive to be the best neighbor we can, and that remains true.”