Texas Couple Accused of Using Their Five Adopted Kids as “Slave Labor” to Run an Illegal Puppy Mill
Jeffery and Barbara Barrett of Greenville, Texas have been arrested after a suspected puppy mill was discovered on their property. To make matters worse, the couple has been accused of forcing their five adopted children to run the illegal operation, seemingly against their will.
The Barrett’s neighbors, the Rodriguez family, claimed that the family was always a little odd — especially when it came to their children.
“The kids were going to school with us for awhile, maybe a year or so, and after that, they didn’t go to school anymore,” Saul Rodriguez Jr. told CBS 11 Dallas. “The parents didn’t want us around them. They never left the house. They just didn’t want to interact with anybody. One time there was a ball that went over to the side of their house and they yelled at us for trespassing.”
Beyond their bizarre behavior, the neighbors also claimed there was “constant barking all day and all night” as well as a terrible smell coming from the large silver shed in the Barrett’s backyard. When the property was finally raided by the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office and the SPCA of Texas, over 100 mistreated dogs were discovered.
“The area where the animals lived was filthy,” SPCA of Texas Vice President of Communications Maura Davies said. “It was just covered in feces and urine and the animals’ physical conditions were also not good. Their coats were overgrown, matted and covered in feces. This looked to me very much like a puppy mill. There was a lot of rehabilitation for this particular group of animals.”
The Barretts are now accused of using their kids, three boys and two girls ranging in age from 12 to 17, to run the suspected puppy mill. They are charged with continuous human trafficking as well as animal cruelty and are expected to appear in court within the next few days.
According to the Texas Department of Child Protective Services, the Barrett children were removed from their parent’s care around the time the animals were taken from the home. They are now in the foster care system.
As for the over 100 abused dogs found on the property, Davies reported that all of the dogs have been adopted into safe, loving homes — one small silver lining in what is a truly nauseating story.
Warning: While the video below contains additional information on the story, it does include some sensitive images of the suspected puppy mill.