Parents Accused of Keeping 11-Year-Old Son With Autism in Cage

And now in some people probably shouldn't be parents news ... Anaheim police have arrested the parents of an 11-year-old autistic boy, after it was discovered that he may have been living inside a dog cage in the family's home. 

Police investigated the scene on Tuesday night, after receiving a tip that the child was living in a large kennel-style cage. Lt. Bob Dunn said that were "some signs that someone had been living there, including a mattress."


The cage itself measured about 6 feet tall and 4 1/2 feet wide. Dunn said, "It was enough for him to be able to stand up in if, in fact, he was living in that cage."

It's being reported that the boy is uncommunicative and that his violent outbursts became more and more uncontrollable as he grew. Allegedly, the cage was a way to contain his outbursts. You know, because that's how you handle autism.

I'm not about to pretend that I know what it's like to have to deal with an autistic child, but I'm pretty sure the indignity of being put in a dog cage isn't the way to do it. Besides, what if he hurt himself? If the kid needs restraints and/or meds, then he needs them. He doesn't need to be locked in a cage. That's not going to help him now, and it's not going to help him learn to manage, and it's not going to help his parents learn how to help him.

Police say the child was "found nourished and well-bathed" but was taken to a local hospital for further examination and to figure out if there are other underlying medical conditions.

Two other children in the home, his 8- and 10-year-old siblings, were taken into protective custody. Mom and dad, both in their 30s, were charged with child endangerment and false imprisonment.

Further complicating the case is a language barrier. The family is Vietnamese, and police say that translators will be needed as the investigation continues. Already there are conflicting reports from the family and an additional tenant who rents a room in the home on whether the kid was kept in the cage "a couple years, months, or even hours."

This whole case just sucks, and I only hope that this poor kid gets the help he needs.

Is there any excuse for putting a disabled child (or any child) in a cage?


Image via Alden Chadwick/Flickr

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