Police officers were investigating animal cruelty that turned into the rescue of an 18-month-old boy who was living in filthy conditions.
Tennessee officers found the toddler in a tiny dog cage that was covered in urine, feces, and bugs. Also, there were more than 600 animals, including snakes, rabbits, mice, rats, and roosters near the cage.
The child’s mother and two other family members were arrested, the Henry County Sheriff’s Office confirmed. They are facing several charges after the horrifying discovery in and around the suspects’ mobile home in Paris, a rural community near Nashville.
In a news release, the deputies confirmed that they saved many animals that weren’t being properly cared for and seized 17 guns and 127 marijuana plants.
Sheriff Monte Belew held a press conference on Friday and told reporters that as soon as his team entered the property, he knew something was wrong. They had to go through grass, debris, and several animals just to get to the front door of the mobile home.
When Belew looked through the front door, he immediately saw the toddler in a dog cage. Because of the looks of the cage and the toys inside, he could tell that the toddler spent a lot of time there. The floor surrounding the cage was covered in urine, feces, and cockroaches. He saw that all of the child’s possessions were inside the dog cage.
The sheriff also noticed a 10-feet-long snake crawling near the cage. Even though the snake wasn’t poisonous, it could easily suffocate the young boy.
Officers found 7 other snakes along with 56 dogs, 10 rabbits, 531 rodents, 86 chickens and roosters, 4 parakeets, 3 cats, 3 sugar gliders, a gecko, and a pheasant on the property.
Belew was shocked that there are people who live and survive in these horrific conditions. The state department of children’s services took away the toddler who was obviously starving.
Authorities identified the suspects as Heather Scarbrough, the toddler’s mother; stepfather T.J. Brown, and his father Charles Brown.
All of them are facing multiple charges such as child abuse, animal cruelty, manufacturing marijuana, possession of a firearm, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The stepfather who is also a convicted felon is facing a charge with possession of a firearm.