This is the moment a starving baby was rescued from the filthy cage where he was made to live while surrounded by a boa constrictor and 56 dogs. The youngster, believed to be about 18 months old, was saved from the makeshift prison in Henry County, Tennessee, on Thursday.
Deputies from Henry County Sheriff’s Office discovered the boy living in the four feet by four feet cage, surrounded by a menagerie of animals including eight snakes, one of which was a 10 foot long and one foot wide boa constrictor that could easily have crushed the youngster to death.
The boy is believed to have spent most of his time in there, with investigators now trying to work out when the child was first confined to the cramped cage.
Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew said: ‘It was heartbreaking to see the conditions this child was living in.
‘There was nothing for that baby in the entire house outside of the cage he was in. All his toys were in there with him.
‘There were no other toys, no crib, no blankets for him. It appeared he spent most if not all his time in the cage, and the ammonia smell that came up when we lifted the cage and the bugs that were under it makes it appear as if he stayed in there a lot.’
Also found at the scene were a 431 mice, rats and hamsters, 56 dogs, including a pregnant one that gave birth to puppies on Thursday, 86 chickens and roosters, 10 rabbits, four parakeets, three cats, a pheasant, a gecko and three sugar sliders.
Sheriff’s deputies fear some of the animals may have been kept as live baits for the family’s snakes.
Investigators went on to find 127 marijuana plants and seven guns on the property. They arrested Heather Scarbough, 42, Thomas Jefferson Brown, 46, and Charles Brown, 82, on charges including child neglect.
The trio’s relationship to the abused toddler has not been disclosed, with Thomas Brown reportedly enquiring about the wellbeing of his animals but not the child after being taken into custody.
The little boy was taken into social services’ custody, with the animals rescued by a local shelter.
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