Lucas County Correction Center via AP
John Westover and Jessica Botzko are whown in police booking photos.
updated 5/3/2007 2:43:08 PM ET 2007-05-03T18:43:08

A boy was locked up in a small dog cage when he was being punished and while his father used drugs, and he sometimes had to wear a shock collar, authorities said.

His parents appeared briefly in court Thursday on charges of child endangerment and making or selling drugs in front of the boy, 10, and his 5-year-old brother.

Jessica Botzko, 28, and John Westover, 37, were arrested Wednesday, a day after the boys were left alone at home and ran away. They were found on a neighbor's porch.

The older boy told officers that he left because he was tired of being locked up, Carroll said.

The cage was less than 2 feet high and 2 feet wide, and had a chain across the top with two locks on each end, he said.

"He had to tuck his knees into his chest, and he fell asleep in there on a couple occasions," Carroll said. "It wasn't continuous. It was probably on and off for punishment."

Court documents say the 10-year-old boy was repeatedly shocked at the family's home through a remote-controlled collar meant as a training device for animals.

Police searched the family's mobile home and found it filled with garbage, Carroll said.

It was not yet clear whether his brother was caged, Carroll said.

The boys were in state custody.

The parents' hearings were continued because neither had a lawyer. They remained in jail.

Authorities said Westover had an extensive criminal record and was wanted on a child endangering charge in suburban Toledo.

Another Ohio couple, Michael and Sharen Gravelle of Norwalk, were convicted in February of child abuse and endangerment for keeping some of their 11 special-needs adopted children in wire and wood enclosures.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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