MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN: A Wisconsin mother has been arrested and charged after authorities said she kept her six children in conditions so deplorable that it was not fit for habitation by humans or animals.
Court documents filed in connection to the case obtained by Fox6 state that 43-year-old Tracey Shields also got "drunk every day" and abused the children, aged between eight and 14, hitting them belts, choking and scratching them, and even biting one of them in the face.
It states that her home in Milwaukee was a house of horrors where rats were running around, had animal feces all over, was infested with flies, and filled with garbage. The pungent smell would often seep to the outside where neighbors could make it out.
Authorities said it was "nearly impossible to walk through the home due to the amount of animal feces and garbage on the floor," and that the "bathroom sink was overflowing with garbage, making it unusable."
Furthermore, there was no running water or edible food in the home, just alcohol.
"It's awful," one neighbor said. "The whole neighborhood suspected what was going on. She would be outside just totally belligerent. One gentleman in particular we know went and actually cleaned the house at one given time because of the kids' situation."
The neighbor added that they did what they could, and even let the children play around in their pools and eat with their kids, but that their situation seemed hopeless.
When authorities finally arrested Shields, she was reportedly "swaying and slurring her words" and indignantly told officers, "I can drink when I want to."
She was subsequently charged with six counts of chronic neglect of a child and one count of physical abuse of a child, all of which are felonies. If convicted, she could face up to 42 years behind bars.
The 43-year-old made her first appearance in court on October 15, where she was ordered to not have contact with any of the victims and had her bail set at $1,000. Her preliminary hearing has been scheduled for October 31.