ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) - A 12-year-old boy is accused of burning a dog with a makeshift blow-torch, and when police responded to the boy's home, they found a lot more than they bargained for.
Three kids, including a baby, were taken from the same home, after police said they found them living in filth.
A 17-year-old girl called police Saturday from a Roswell home on South Mulberry, claiming her 12-year-old brother was burning her dog.
"He had burned her Chihuahua mix's ears so bad that it actually burned the hair off the dog's ears, and had started blistering the skin," explained Sergeant Jim Preston, of the Roswell Police Department. "We learned that he was actually using a cologne bottle and a lighter, kind of making a makeshift-type torch."
The 12-year-old boy was arrested and charged with extreme animal cruelty. But on the same call, police found seven people were living in squalor at the boy's home.
"There was some animal feces, just pure dirt, just not taking care of home," Preston said. "And not something that comes over one or two days, this is something that you definitely could tell had been going on for long periods of time."
Police said rooms inside the home were so cluttered, they could not walk in them. The New Mexico Children Youth and Families Department was called, and removed a 4-month-old, 16-month-old and a 13-year-old from the home.
The children were placed in temporary foster care.
Police said they did not find drugs in the home and have not pursued criminal charges against the adults.
"At this time, we do not see it as a criminal issue, we more see it as a concern issue of the health of the children," said Preston.
Adults who live at the home refused to comment, but did say they were in the process of cleaning up.
The Chihuahua was taken by Animal Control and is recovering at a vet's office.
"Hopefully we'll be able to, through CYFD, get that family the help it needs, some counseling, some help to get things cleaned up, and in a more livable condition, especially for the small children," said Preston.
Police said the family has had an extensive history with CYFD, and the investigation is ongoing. CYFD officials would not comment on the case, except to say a judge will likely decide by Tuesday if the children will be returned to their parents.
The vet said the Chihuahua may lose an ear.
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