Tennessee toddler kept in feces-filled cage next to boa constrictor in filthy trailer, mom and 2 others held
Three adults were arraigned before a judge in Tennessee after reportedly letting a toddler live in a cage next to a 10 feet boa constrictor. T.J Brown, Heather Scarborough, and Charles Brown were arrested in late June and booked on several counts including aggravated child abuse and animal cruelty, The Sun reported. The arrests took place after police responded to a trailer in Henry County, Tennessee following reports of animal neglect back in June. When officers arrived at the property, they found the one-year-old tot in a 4x4 cage inside the living room without blankets. What's more? There were reportedly three buckets of mice next to the cage and a 10ft boa constructor just feet away from them.
Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew said after the June raid that they found eight snakes living inside the room with the boy. There were also dozens of dogs running around the property, he added. “With all of the law enforcement experience up here, it's hard to find something that actually shocks us,” the sheriff said. "I've never seen this before, and I can guarantee the gentlemen up here with me have never seen this before."
According to Sheriff Belew, parts of the home did not have any flooring at all, and the kitchen was "unlivable." He added that the entire trailer was infested with maggots and cockroaches, including the kennel where the boy allegedly slept. "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," Belew said. "They just wanted to live their life. We had to explain to them that there is a norm." Police later estimated that at least 600 animals including cats and dogs were recovered from the remote property.
Speaking to News Channel 5, Michael Cunningham of the Animal Rescue Corps recalled how he was confronted with several animals living inside the filthy property. "They were in tanks and they were completely filled to the top with feces. It was a complete mess," he said. "There was trash on the floor, cockroaches all over us, and flies everywhere." The boy's mom Heather, 42, her boyfriend T.J., 46, as well as his father Charles, 82, appeared in court last Thursday. During the hearing, the defense reportedly tried to downplay the use of the cage, saying it was simply a “makeshift playpen for a lower-income family.”
But the chief investigating officer of the case with the Henry County Sheriff’s Office said there was a big difference between a playpen and a feces-filled kennel. “When I put a child in a playpen, there’s not 8 snakes, hundreds of rats and hamsters and mice up against the cage, there’s no cockroaches in the cage, there’s not urine-soaked clothes in the cage, I mean, there’s a big difference,” the unidentified investigator said in court. It was revealed in court that authorities recovered "86 chickens, 56 dogs, 10 rabbits, four parakeets, three cats, eight snakes, one pheasant, 531 rodents, and one gecko" from the property. Furthermore, investigators reportedly also found 17 semi-automatic guns and more than 100 marijuana plants aside from the 18-month-old child.