PECULIAR, Mo. — Five children are now in protective custody after an officer found them living with multiple animals in wretched conditions inside a Missouri home, according to WDAF.
Tiffany Burton, 32, faces five counts of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree, according to the Cass County Sheriff’s Deputy.
A school resource officer contacted the Cass County Sheriff’s department on May 16 because two children had not been to school in a week after being sent home for lice, according to a probable cause statement.
When the deputy arrived, he said he could smell urine and feces as he walked to the door. Inside, he found a 2-year-old wearing only a shirt, wading through heaps of garbage, according to KCTV.
The deputy found five children, ages 2 to 12, covered in red marks and scratches, possibly from bug bites, along with Burton, who was asleep when he arrived.
The deputy described piles of trash “on almost every horizontal surface,” and said there were no working toilets in the home. He found rotting food, feces and an open container of bleach on the floor, which was covered by carpet so moldy that it tore up and stuck to his boots, according to the report.
He also found chickens, dogs, and a pig living inside the house, the document said. A makeshift chicken coop reeking of feces was set up in one of the children’s room, according to KCTV. He said he could see fleas and ticks on his uniform.
The deputy called the Missouri Child Abuse Hotline, but was told it would be a 25-minute wait. He said he then called the Cass County Children’s Division and several times before a worker from the Cass County Children’s Division showed up at the home.
She told the deputy she had recently been to the home and there was a safe plan in place for the children to stay in the parents’ bedroom because it was cleaner than the other rooms. The deputy felt that was unsafe and took the children into protective custody.
Another deputy planned to take the children to McDonald’s before going into protective custody because they apparently hadn’t eaten in days.
Burton is scheduled to appear in court at 9 a.m. Thursday, July 5.