Police left shocked after finding 7 'malnourished' children living with caged rats and snakes

The parents of seven children found living in 'deplorable' conditions at a home in Pennsylvania have been charged with child endangerment.

Police left shocked after finding 7 'malnourished' children living with caged rats and snakes
© Oliver Helbig / Getty Images
Police left shocked after finding 7 'malnourished' children living with caged rats and snakes

Seven children have been discovered living in 'unsanitary and essentially unsafe'conditions in a home in Pennsylvania, leading to the arrest of their parents.

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On 23 April, Pennridge Regional Police Department responded to reports of two children entering an abandoned trailer in West Rockhill Township in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, as per a police report filed 19 May.

After finding the girls aged 12 and 14, who appeared unkempt, the police returned them to their home which was next to the abandoned trailer and asked their parents to see their living arrangements.

7 children found living in 'deplorable living conditions'

The officers discovered the home was 'in obvious disrepair and disarray' with 'deplorable living conditions' including a locked refrigerator, according to the report.

The mother, Crystal Robertson, explained to police that she had to put a bicycle lock on the refrigerator as they had little food and the children were 'stealing' everything. She described them as 'garbage disposals with legs'. Police also found another girl aged 16 at the home.

The officers filed a report with Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services Agency, and later returned to the home where they found four more children hidden in a back room, three girls and a boy. The father, Shane William Robertson, said he didn't tell officers about the other children before as 'he did not want to get in any trouble', as per the report.

One of the rooms had around two dozen rats in cages and there was faeces on the floor and on a blanket. The report said that 'there was also a bad odor… and several bugs'. It also revealed that 'two dogs, two turtles, two rabbits, snakes, toads, and a four-foot reptile known as a Tegu' were in the home.

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Children lacked education and had variety of medical issues

The seven children aged four to 16-years-old were taken into protective custody and sent to a hospital for medical treatment.

A later investigation found that none of the children had ever received formal education and that they experienced difficulties with basic reading, writing, and spelling. The report also said:

They all exhibited social anxiety and disclosed that they did not like being in public or around other people.

Medical evaluations determined that all but one of the children were 'clinically underweight and malnourished'. Two of the children had Covid-19, two were found to have low kidney function, and three were diagnosed with acute viral syndrome. Two required 'extensive' dental treatment, while two required corrective eye care.

A news release from the Pennridge Regional Police Department said:

Personal hygiene of the children was also found to be concerning, resulting in two of the children having to shave their hair due to severe matting.

One child even had maggots living in her hair.

The press release also said that the parents were arrested and charged with seven felony counts each of endangering the welfare of a child.

Sources used:

CNN: 'Parents charged after 7 kids found living in home with rats in cages and padlocked refrigerator, police say'

NBC News: 'Pa. parents charged after seven children are found living in deplorable conditions and removed from home'

Newsweek: 'Seven Kids Found Living Among Rats, Snakes and Maggots in Pennsylvania Home'

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