Police discover caged child, hundreds of neglected animals in Henry County
HENRY COUNTY, Tenn. — An animal abuse case in Henry County has law enforcement saying it’s one of the worst they’ve ever seen.
When Henry County sheriff deputies raided a trailer, they soon realized they had found something big on their hands: over 700 animals living in bad conditions.
“They were living in terrible conditions. They were dehydrated, they had skin conditions,” said Sheriff Monte Belew.
The list includes dogs, cats, mice, chickens, and more — most of which were in cages outside the trailer. But the inside of the trailer was no different.
“I’m going to say 15 to 20 dogs running loose, there’s feces on the floor, thousands of cockroaches,” Sheriff Belew said.
While at the scene, there were still some animals in the cages, dead. But the most shocking part? Investigators found a 1.5 year old child locked in a cage.
“Everything that child played with or interacted with was in this kennel,” Sheriff Belew said.
In the same portion of the trailer, there were eight snakes and numerous mice.
“About three foot to the left of it was a 10-foot boa constrictor,” Sheriff Belew said. “It’s hard to find something that will shock my conscience, that makes me say ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve never seen this before.’ Well I’ve never seen this before.”
The child was immediately handed over to Child Protective Services.
“He did appear to be very hungry, the way he took food from us,” Sheriff Belew said.
The initial reason for the raid was a complaint about possible animal abuse. When investigators arrived, they discovered over 700 animals on the property.
“86 chickens and roosters, 56 dogs, 10 rabbits, four parakeets, three cats, eight snakes, one pheasant, 531 mice, rabbits, and hamsters,” Sheriff Belew said.
They also uncovered over 100 marijuana plants and 17 guns.
Three people are now behind bars after the raid: 42-year old Heather Scarbrough, 46-year old TJ Brown, and 82-year old Charles Brown, who all lived in the trailer.
Scarbrough is the child’s mother, while TJ Brown is the stepfather.
“Especially TJ, he didn’t ask about the child,” Sheriff Belew said. “He asked about whether he was gonna be able to get his animals back. Never said a word to me about the child.”
District Attorney General Matthew Stowe says they’re in uncharted waters, due to how severe this case is.
Stowe said it will take a long time to prosecute the case, due to the severity of the crimes, which encompasses child abuse, animal abuse, weapons, and more.
“I think perhaps most shocking, is, it’s something that can happen right close to home,” Stowe said.
Sheriff Belew gave a special thanks to the Animal Rescue Corps, who spent over 12 hours at the scene Thursday, helping rescue all the animals.
Belew also said their next court date is June 30 at 9 a.m. in Henry County.
Each had their bond set at $300,000.