Tennessee toddler rescued from dog kennel with 8 snakes, hundreds of mice, maggots and cockroaches, 3 arrested

When deputies were on an animal rescue mission, they found a 1 year and 6-months-old child inside a 4x4 dog kennel in the living room

                            Tennessee toddler rescued from dog kennel with 8 snakes, hundreds of mice, maggots and cockroaches, 3 arrested
T.J. Brown, Heather Scarbrough and Charles Brown (Henry County Sheriff's Office)

HENRY COUNTY, TENNESSEE: The Henry County Sheriff’s Office has found a toddler locked in a cage during an animal rescue operation on Thursday, June 25. When deputies raided a single-wide mobile home with several outbuildings, they found a one year and six months old child inside a 4x4 dog kennel in the living room. T.J. Brown, Heather Scarbrough and Charles Brown have been charged following the discovery.

Providing the details of the raid on Friday, June 26, Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew said, “Everything that child possessed or played with was in that kennel.” He said, "Next to the child’s cage were three buckets full of hundreds of mice and there was also a 10-foot boa constrictor along with seven other snakes in the room," WTVF reported.

"With all of the law enforcement experience up here, it's hard to find something that actually shocks us. I've never seen this before, and I can guarantee the gentlemen up here with me have never seen this before,” Belew said, adding around 15-20 dogs were found running loose on the property, along with feces on the floor. The sheriff said some parts of the house had no flooring at all while describing its kitchen as “unlivable.” The cops also found thousands of cockroaches and maggots in the house during the raid.

"It's a very rural part of the county, you're not far from the state line. Dale Cemetery Road is not a very traveled road at all. Not much traffic on it whatsoever. They just wanted to live their life. We had to explain to them that there is a norm,” Belew added.

The 46-year-old T.J., 42-year-old Scarbrough, and 82-year-old Charles have now been charged with aggravated child abuse – which is a class A felony – aggravated animal cruelty, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, manufacturing of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and cruelty to animals. T.J. has also been charged with felon in possession of a firearm. All the accused have been held at Henry County Jail on a $300,000 bond each. They are scheduled to appear in a court on June 30 at 9 a.m.

Meanwhile, Henry County’s District Attorney has also reacted to the incident. “In our community children are treasured. They're treasured very highly and the slightest allegation that one may be in danger causes a large number of people to spring into action. We're going to investigate this and every allegation of child abuse extremely closely,” Matthew Stowe said.

The district attorney also said that prosecutors were working closely with the Henry County Sheriff's Office on the case. "These things oftentimes can be hidden, especially when it's in a remote or rural area. But even in an urban area, the truth is we never really know what our neighbors next door are doing. It's important that this serves as a warning that if you see something out of place that you let someone know,” Stowe added.

“I think this case serves as an important reminder that you just really never know what may be going on in the house next door. We urge citizens to help us identify cases like this. If you see something involving children or animals that causes you concern, pick up the phone and report it to law enforcement. You never know, you just might save a life,” Stowe said in a Facebook statement.

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