Children found locked in dog kennel

Texas sheriff says two malnourished children found in 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.

According to a WFAA report, authorities in Wise County received a call at about 7:20 a.m. on February 12 about a violent incident involving a man and a woman at a house off County Road 4930 near Newark, located about 30 miles north of Fort Worth.

Upon searching the property, deputies found the two children inside the dog kennel, along with two other children that were also showing signs of malnourishment.

Johnson said food was kept just out of reach of the children in a refrigerator that had three straps on it to lock it.

The children are ages five, four, three and one.

Child Protective Services were cited by NBC DFW as saying that they were aware of previous concerns about the family.

Paige Isabow Harkings and Andrew Joseph Fabila, who are both 24, were each charged with four counts of criminal child endangerment and were being held in the Wise County Jail.

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

"This is at the top of the list of worst cases, as far as children", Johnson said, calling the use of the dog crate and lack of care "unacceptable". Two were locked in 3-by-3-foot (90-by-90 centimeter) cages, while two younger children were found outside the cage but only partially clothed and smeared with feces and urine.

"The four children have been taken to Cook's (Children's Medical Center) in Fort Worth to be examined", Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said Tuesday in a telephone interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Akin said the suspects, who have not been identified, are facing four counts each of endangering a child.

Harkings, the children's mother, and was also charged with aggravated assault. They were taken to a hospital for evaluation.

He says the children's parents were home and that they had been fighting. The man had cuts to his face. "They were punished", said Akin.

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