BOY, 12, LOCKED IN KENNEL WITH DOG
By Nalinee Seelal Friday, July 20 2012
Belmont police yesterday rescued a 12-year-old boy who was found naked and locked in a kennel with a dog in the yard of his home at Cascade.
The boy has been warded at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital being treated for dog and mosquito bites, malnutrition and exposure to coldness.
Four persons are expected to be charged under the Children’s Act Chapter 46:01 for cruelty to the child.
According to the police, the boy lives with his father, 40, stepmother, 32, and grandmother, 53, at Upper Valley Road, Cascade, and investigators report the child had been stopped from attending Rosary Boys’ RC Primary School, Port-of-Spain a year ago.
The boy’s father accused him of “not listening” and of being stubborn and as punishment the father, helped by a 29-year-old male cousin, held down the child, stripped him naked and forced him into the kennel with the dog, at about 6 pm on Wednesday. The cousin lives on the street, but was at his relatives’ house on Wednesday evening, and stayed overnight.
The scared boy was left in the kennel all night with the dog.
Neighbours called the Belmont police yesterday morning after hearing the boy’s cries throughout the night.
“I was hearing the child saying, ‘he biting me! He biting me!’ but I didn’t immediately take it on. It was only when we were outside (in the morning), people pointed out that the boy was actually in the kennel. So we called the police after, and they came and met the scene as it was, and took everyone in the household to the station for questioning,” a resident told Newsday.
A party of officers led by Sgt Khelewan Ramsook, Cpl Rajkumar and PC Ramdath arrived at the house, at about 8 am, executed a search warrant and found the boy naked in the kennel with the dog.
The police detained the boy’s father, stepmother and grandmother but the cousin fled the house before he could be arrested. A search continued for the cousin late yesterday, and police said he also faces charges.
The child, who appeared to be malnourished and underdeveloped for his age, was taken to hospital where police took a statement after doctors attended to him. The dog was left in the kennel. The boy’s parents and grandmother remained in police custody late yesterday as investigators consulted with the legal department of the police service on the charges.
A statement was also taken from one of the neighbours who reported the abuse.
The neighbour told Newsday he had heard the boy’s cries on many occasions, most times at night, and decided to investigate when he heard the child again in the early hours yesterday.
He was stunned to find the boy in a kennel with a dog.
“It really hurt my heart to see the type of cruelty that boy was being exposed to and I had to intervene and call in the police,” said the neighbour.
He said he is willing to testify in the case.
Residents accused the family of cruel acts of discipline against the boy.
“It is years now they were abusing this child. They always never feeding the child or beating the child.
“In fact, the boy used to get so frustrated that he used to jump over the fence and go next door and thief food from a neighbour. If you see him on the road he was asking for food. He was always hungry. It was years of abuse he getting,” a resident said.
Some said the police had been notified of the family’s behaviour before, however, whenever they arrived, officers could never find any proof of child abuse, and always left with a simple warning to the family.
That all changed when officers were called to the home yesterday, and saw the boy bleeding from his night spent in the dog kennel.
Deputy Police Commissioner Mervyn Richardson said he was informed of the case and was keeping abreast of the investigation.
He commended the neighbours who called in the police which led to the boy’s rescue and encouraged the public to report any suspicious activities, especially of child abuse.