Four young children who appeared malnourished and were covered in fecal matter, including two locked in a dog kennel, were found at a Texas home, leading to the arrest of two adults on accusations of child endangerment.
The discovery was made Tuesday morning when the sheriff's office in Wise County near Dallas-Fort Worth was called to a property on a report of a domestic disturbance between Andrew Fabila and Paige Harkings.
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Harkings is the mother of all four children, and Fabila is the father of one of them, NBC 5 reported.
As deputies were talking to the duo, they heard voices and found two children, 4 and 5, inside the kennel.
Two other children, 3 and 1, were in the residence mostly unclothed and lying on a blanket. They were all taken to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth.
Authorities said there was a refrigerator in the living space but had a lock on it. Wise County Chief Deputy Craig Johnson told NBC 5 the residence was a "metal shop-type building" with living quarters inside. It was "filthy" and "cluttered" inside, he said.
"Locking a child, any time, in a dog crate is unacceptable," Johnson told the outlet. "When you find them in the state they were found today, covered in fecal material, no food readily available to them, didn't appear to have been cared for, it's unacceptable. It's bad."
Fabila, who had scratches on his face, was treated at a hospital and then transported to Wise County Jail on four counts of endangering a child.
In addition to endangerment charges, Harkings also faces a charge of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury.
Minyvonne Burke is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.