Many of the animals, most of which were dogs and puppies, were kept in filthy conditions in a metal addition behind the home, according to the SPCA of Texas, which was involved in the animals’ seizure. The Barretts told officials that they bred the puppies to sell. Now, officials are alleging that the Barretts took their five children — two girls and three boys ages 12 to 17 — out of public school and forced them to care for the animals. The children all had been adopted from California.The children told authorities that the Barretts hit them with plywood, bamboo sticks and brushes, according to arrest-warrant affidavits obtained by the Greenville Herald-Banner. Four of them had “marks, bruises and open wounds in different stages of healing,” officials observed. “This is one of [the first cases] — if not the first case — involving child labor trafficking in the state of Texas,” said Deputy Criminal Chief Kirsta Leeburg Melton, who leads a unit in the Texas attorney general’s office dedicated to combating human trafficking.The Barretts are being held at the Hunt County jail, with bail set at $650,000 each, a DPS spokesman said.
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