BUCHANAN, TN (WSMV) - Three people face multiple abuse charges after a child was found being kept in a dog cage when Henry County Sheriff deputies responded to an animal abuse call on Thursday morning.
Officers arrived at the home on Dale Cemetery Road around 8:50 a.m. Officers found the front door of the home standing open upon their arrival. After they announced their presence and called for the homeowners, they found a small child being kept in the cages.
Deputies located the residents, Charles Brown, 82, Jeff Brown, 46, and Heather Scarbrough, 42, and took them into custody.
Deputies found the child, who was 1-1/2 years old, was being kept in the cage in close proximity to snakes, rats and mice. The surrounding floor and cage itself was covered in dog feces, urine and roaches. The Department of Children’s Services was called to the scene and took the child, placing him in safe care.
Officers found grossly abused animals at the home while executing a search warrant. Deputies also found and seized 127 marijuana plants and 17 guns.
"Cruelty to children and animals are some of the worst crimes we see," District Attorney General Matthew Stowe said in a news release. "We treasure our children and will continue to investigate this and any other allegation of child abuse extremely closely. Likewise, animal cruelty will be treated very seriously in the 24th Judicial District."
The Animal Rescue Corps was called in to assist with the animals. Animals taken and cared for included 56 dogs, 86 chickens, 10 rabbits, eight snakes, four parakeets, three cats, three sugar gliders, one pheasant, one gecko and 531 mice, rats and hamsters.
"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," said Stowe. "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."
All three suspects are being held at the Henry County Jail with a $300,000 bond. They are all charged with aggravated child abuse, aggravated animal cruelty, animal cruelty, manufacturing marijuana, possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony and possession of drug paraphernalia. Jeff Brown also faces a charge of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. All three will appear in Henry County General Sessions Court on June 30.