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Child was kept in a dog pen

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Parents arrested

  • Article Image Alt Text
    Amanda Curry
  • Article Image Alt Text
    Daron Hirtzler

A couple living out of a camper in the Scenic Mountain RV Park recently was arrested for felony cruelty to children.

The condition of the camper was so bad that an animal control officer considered charging the couple, based on “willful neglect of animals due to the living conditions” for the two dogs and two ferrets that also lived in the camper, according to an incident report.

Two deputies initially responded “in reference to an anonymous complaint of a child being locked in a cage at this location.” The deputies were first met by a juvenile female at the front door, who said that her parents weren’t home.

The deputies then walked inside of the camper and were “immediately overwhelmed by the odor of urine.” The juvenile then pointed to an area in the back of the camper and told deputies that that’s where her autistic sister was situated. The deputies then entered a room, roughly five-foot-by-six-foot in size, and saw a “very small pulldown-style bed on the left side of the floor,” which “was completely covered in food and crumbs.” Also observed was a “‘sippy’ cup with what appeared to be several days old milk on the floor,” as well as a bowl on the floor “filled with water as if it was meant to be a water bowl.”

The older sister then “stated that the only cage that (her autistic little sister) is ever kept in is a dog play pen that is outside” in order “to keep her from running away.”

One of the deputies then made contact on the phone with the girls’ mother, who said that “she was at the store” and about an hour away. A DFCS case worker then arrived and immediately made the decision to take the children into foster care. A deputy again called the mother roughly an hour later, and the mother said that she was “still about 45 minutes away.” In the mean time, a deputy spotted the autistic child “eating the crumbs that were on the floor.”

The parents eventually came home and were arrested. Charged with one count each of second degree cruelty to children were Daron Robert Hirtzler, 36, and Amanda Lorine Curry, 37.

Animal control later was called out to pick up the dogs and ferrets that also were living in the camper. The conditions inside of the camper were so bad that the animal control officer considered “issuing citations for willful neglect of animals due to the living conditions.”