BREAKING: Couple accused of keeping their children locked up in a dog crate
By Nikki Black
Writer / February 14 2019
A Texan couple have been accused of keeping some of their children inside a dog crate, with law enforcement officials saying it’s “at the top of the list of worst cases.”
The mother and her partner were arrested after police responded to a domestic disturbance call and found four malnourished children in the home.
Police discovered the children living in clutter and filth, with two in a crate placed in a barn converted into living space, according to CNN.
The four children, all aged between one and five, were hungry, thirsty, and covered in faeces.
“Our deputies and our lieutenant fed and gave water to those children. And due to the malnourishment and other concerns, EMS was called; emergency medical was called,” said Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin.
CNN affiliate KTVT reported that the two oldest children, aged five and four, were the ones locked in dog crates.
Paige Harkings is the biological mother of the children and her partner, Andrew Fabila, is the biological father of one child, according to authorities.
They were arrested on four counts of endangering a child, and Harkings faces an additional charge of one count of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, Akin said.
The children were taken to a hospital in Fort Worth for evaluation, and are in the custody of Child Protective Services.
“Locking a child at any time in a dog crate is unacceptable,” said Craig Johnson, chief deputy for the Wise County Sheriff’s Department.
“When you find them in the state they were found today, covered in fecal material, no food readily available to them, didn’t appear to be cared for, it’s just completely unacceptable.”
Law enforcement officials also noted that there was plenty of food inside the residence but the refrigerator and the cabinets had been locked so the children could not access the food.
Deputy Johnson added that it’s “not always an easy thing to see but that’s part of the job.”
Neighbour Amber Jester said she didn't know there were children at the home.
"You'd think that being right across the street we would know something," she said.
"You'd like to say you would do something. But you don't know. I guess you never know what people are doing inside of their homes."