VICTORVILLE (CBSLA.com/AP) — Authorities have removed 20 children and 18 dogs from a Southern California home that they say was uninhabitable.
San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies also arrested five women at the home Thursday. Three were arrested on suspicion of child cruelty. Two of the women were suspected of being under the influence of a controlled substance.
A sheriff’s statement says the Victorville home had no working electricity or gas. Police familiar with the inside of the home called it “complete filth.” And there wasn’t enough food for the people living there, officials said.
The statement also says that the dogs had no access to water and the carpet, walls and furniture were in disrepair. Authorities also say black mold was found throughout the home.
The children ranged in age from 2 months to 17-years-old.
Animal control officers took away 18 dogs. Two other dogs were found dead.
Reporting from the location, CBS2’s Michele Gile says a sign now hangs in the window: “Condemned.”
The sign comes as no surprise to neighbors on Eto Camino Road.
Neighbors told her it was routine to see people living in cars on the property.
Residents also told Gile it was like the children used the road as their playground — they were often unsupervised, dirty and barefoot.
One person who drove a carpool by the property thought it was a farm.
Regarding the removal of the dogs and children, neighbor Cary Walker said, “When word gets out, you’re going to have people cheering that they cleaned this place up. Especially the people who worried about the little toddlers and children. They don’t need to live like that.”
Residents told Gile people have been complaining about the home for months.
Other neighbors told CBS2’s Andrea Fujii that they often gave the children money for food.
“The kids would go up to the liquor store and ask for money and ask for food. They’d come home with chips and sodas,” said one woman.
The five women arrested are reportedly the grandmother and mothers of the children.
It’s not clear what led the police to the home this particular time, but neighbors told Fujii they’re just glad the children are now safe.
The dogs were taken to Victorville Animal Control.
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