Two parents in Rhome, Texas, are facing charges of child endangerment after police found four malnourished children, two of whom were locked in dog cages.
On Tuesday morning, deputies for the Wise County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call reporting possible family violence.
Officers arrived to find Andrew Joseph Fabila and Paige Harkings, both 24, at the home. Fabila had cuts on his face, according to the Wise County Messenger.
Authorities were talking to the couple when a deputy found four kids, ages 5, 4, 3 and 1, at the home. The oldest two were locked in a 3-by-3-foot dog kennel.
All four children appeared to be malnourished and were covered in waste, according to CBS Dallas Fort Worth.
Authorities arrested Harkings, the mother of all four kids, and Fabila, the father of one of the children, and charged each with four counts of endangering a child.
Harkings was also charged with one count of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury.
Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin told The Dallas Morning News that it was the worst child abuse case he’d seen in his 44 years in law enforcement. “I’ve not worked one where children are locked inside a dog kennel, and I find that absolutely disgusting,” he said.
Both parents remained in jail Wednesday in lieu of bail, $75,000 for Harkings, $60,000 for Fabila.
Texas Child Protective Services said it had previously been in contact with the family but did not elaborate, according to WFAA.com.
Deputies gave the children food and water before taking them to a hospital to be examined. The children will be placed in foster care, according to NBC Dallas-Fort Worth.