North Texas Children Found Malnourished and Living in a Dog Cage

North Texas Children Found Malnourished and Living in a Dog Cage

Deputies on Tuesday discovered two malnourished children crammed into a locked dog cage and two more smeared with feces and urine in a barn in North Texas, in what a sheriff described as the worst case of child abuse he has ever seen.

Deputies responded to the home around 7:20 Tuesday morning due to a family disturbance call when the children were discovered.

Shockingly, two of the oldest children were being kept in a dog kennel that was just three square feet in size, the Wise County Messenger report, and the other two were filthy and only partially clothed.

There was food inside the makeshift home but the refrigerator and cabinets had been locked.

When they arrived they found a man with cuts to the face and heard the children inside the barn, Sheriff Lane Akin told Dallas TV station WFAA. The Wise County Jail identified the adults arrested at the home as Andrew Fabila and Paige Harkings.

Initial reports quoted Akin as saying two children were found caged in the barn and two were found in the home.

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Harkings, the children's mother, and was also charged with aggravated assault. They were hungry and thirsty, and covered in feces, Akin said. The two oldest children were locked inside of a dog cage. Law enforcement found the children earlier in the day on the property near Rhome, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Fort Worth.

Authorities took the children to Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth to be evaluated. Deputies fed the kids and gave them water before taking them to the hospital, according to the sheriff's office.

The father and mother of the children have been arrested and face charges of child endangerment.

She claimed that she and her 12 siblings were being held against their will by their parents, would often leave them shackled and taunt them with food. "They were punished", said Akin.

Marissa Gonzales, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said the agency has had contact with the family before, but at a different location.

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