Bond set for Wise County couple accused of keeping kids in dog cage

A judge has set bond for the Wise County couple accused of locking young children in a dog kennel.

Authorities found the kids — ages 5, 4, 3, and 1 — Tuesday morning while responding to a domestic disturbance call at a property near Rhome, about 20 miles north of Fort Worth.

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Paige Isabow Harkings and Andrew Joseph Fabila, who are both 24, were each charged with four counts of criminal child endangerment and were being held in the Wise County Jail. His bond was set at $60,000 Wednesday afternoon, while hers was set at $75,000.

The three boys and girl were released from a hospital Tuesday evening and placed into foster care, a Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said. The agency did not say if the children have been placed together or split up.

Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said deputies found the oldest two kids locked in a 3-by-3 foot cage and the other two were filthy and only partially clothed. He called it the worst case of child abuse he has seen in his 44-year career.

Deputies were originally called to the home Tuesday for a domestic disturbance call. While in the yard dealing with Harkings and Fabila, they heard children inside the home. They made the decision to enter the makeshift residence, despite the couple denying them permission.

"They refused consent, but the deputies being concerned about the welfare of those children went in anyway, which is what we would expect through circumstances that they would check on the welfare and wellbeing of those children,” Akin said. “Had they not taken that extra step, we might have never known."

Akin said the children were starving and that a plentiful supply of food had been locked inside cabinets and a refrigerator in the barn. Deputies fed the kids and gave them water before taking them to the hospital.

The deputies who made the discovery will be required to get therapy to some degree.

"We will mandate that they do that,” the sheriff said. “It was the same thing back in the day when I was a Texas Ranger. It was mandated when we saw something traumatic that we had some level of counseling."

Harkings was also charged with aggravated assault, and Fabila was taken to an area hospital to have "numerous lacerations on his face" treated before being jailed, the sheriff's office said in a statement. She is the mother to all four children, while he is the father of one, according to authorities.

The four children are currently in foster care. CPS says there will be a hearing within the next two weeks to determine their custody status.