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Children taken from 'home blanketed with dog feces'

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Jennifer L. Winstanley (left) and Travis Krueger were arrested Jan. 29, 2013, after authorities allegedly discovered their Rutherford County home was unfit for their three children. (Photos submitted)

One 5-year-old boy and two 3-year-old boys, who lived in a home blanketed with dog feces and urine, were taken into state custody and their parents were arrested Tuesday by detectives with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.

Travis Krueger, 24, and his live-in girlfriend, Jennifer L. Winstanley, 22, both of Cedar Street off County Farm Road, were charged with reckless endangerment by Detective Steve Craig.

Krueger is the father of one of the 3-year-old boys, and Winstanley is the mother of the 5-year-old and the second 3-year-old boy.

Craig accused the parents of keeping the children in a house with dog feces that could cause multiple health hazards.

Deputy Joshua Anderson responded about 10:30 a.m. to the home after a neighbor saw the 3-year-old boys playing outside with no supervision. Anderson located the parents who were asleep and received consent to enter the home.

“I encountered abominable conditions,” Anderson reported. “Nearly the entire floor inside the residence was covered in dog feces and saturated with urine. I observed one of the children walking around the house, through the feces, with no shoes or socks on.”

Craig responded to the home where he found clothing scattered in the living room and multiple dogs roaming.

“There was dog feces and urine on the floor of every room I entered,” Craig reported. “Newspapers, used drinking cups and soiled paper towels were scattered about the residence. Used dishes were piled in the sink with discarded food scattered around the stove.”

According to the Sheriff's Office, detectives also found old food and several bottles of alcohol in the refrigerator. A pair of soiled pull-ups was discarded in a box in the kitchen. More urine and feces were left on the children’s bedrooms, laundry room and utility closet.

“The smell inside of the residence was deplorable,” Craig said.

Rutherford County Emergency Medical Services paramedics examined the two boys. Kruegar’s 3-year-old son returned to his mother’s custody while the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services took the other 3-year-old and his 5-year-old brother, who was at school, into state custody.

County Codes Director David Jones and staff members responded, saying the home was unsafe. They issued an order that no one should enter the home.

Officers from Pet Adoption and Welfare Services took possession of 11 dogs, and also cited the couple with animal cruelty.

Winstanley told Craig she planned to clean the home Tuesday.

Both parents were booked into Rutherford County Adult Detention Center, where they were later released on $2,500 bond.

A hearing is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 11, in Rutherford County General Sessions Court.

Read more from:
Animal Abuse, Child Abuse, Child Neglect, Crime, Jennifer Winstanley, PAWS, RCSO, Rutherford County, Sheriffs Office, Steve Craig, Travis Krueger
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Members Opinions:
February 01, 2013 at 7:31pm
Articles like this make me sick to my stomach. I feel strongly about this particular topic because of the children that are involved. I’m a strong believer in putting children first and being able to actually take care of a child if you choose to have a child. I have a couple of friends who got pregnant at a young age but have been the absolute best parents possible to their now three or four year old. I saw the change in them from the moment they found out they were pregnant to start preparing for their child. In saying that, I’ve now witnessed for years the truly amazing parents they’ve become. So, for me to see an article like this is just heartbreaking. It’s just shocking to me that anyone could even live in the environment they provided whether they had children or not. For the fact that children are involved makes it worse. These children need to be put into a clean, safe environment where they will be unconditionally loved and cared for. They are innocent and can’t take care of themselves at the age they are! Decisions have to be made for them for their benefit to live the best life they possibly can. I understand that the children know these two adults as “parents”, but just because two people bring a child into the world doesn’t mean they have the instinct to be parents. Both of these individuals need to have both the children and animals taken away from them. If they want to live in a nasty, unsafe environment, they are old enough to make that decision. However, I do feel that they should be punished in some way for providing such a horrible environment for the children and animals. It’s a blessing that these children were brought into the world, but they should live a life that helps them understand they have a purpose rather than living a life with parents who clearly don’t care about their health, environment, or personal needs.
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