A social services worker and a hospital nurse were arrested Friday after a North Carolina sheriff's deputy spotted their 11-year-old foster child allegedly chained to their porch with a dead chicken draped around his neck.
The Union County Sheriff's Office told WCNC-TV that the boy was chained to the porch by his ankle and appeared to be shivering when he was discovered Friday morning by an animal control deputy, who was responding to a complaint about a loose pig.
Dorian Lee Harper and Wanda Sue Larson, both 57, have each been charged with intentional child abuse inflicting serious injury, false imprisonment, and animal cruelty. Larson, a supervisor for the county's Department of Social Services, faces an additional charge of failing to discharge her duty as a public official. A statement issued by the sheriff's office claimed that Larson was "complicit" in the boy's mistreatment.
The couple had four other foster children, with an age range between 8 and 14. All five were removed from the home and placed in the custody of social services in another county.
"Makes you wonder what our county officials do in their spare time," neighbor Gene Wallace told WCNC. Wallace also described the family as reclusive and said they kept a variety of animals. "Pigs, donkeys, llamas.. the whole gamut ... If we complain about their animals being on our property they get mad or they won't come to the door when you go over there."
Harper's bond has been set at $500,000, with Larson's set at $525,000. They are due in court Monday.