A female couple force fed three children dog faeces during a sustained period of imprisonment and violent beatings at a home in the US, according to police.
Amanda R. Wright, 29, and Besline Joseph, 25, face multiple child abuse charges in relation to the treatment of three children aged 8, 9 and 10, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
Maryland State Police allege the couple beat the children with objects including extension cords, belts and sticks between Spring 2017 and 26 January, when officers raided the house in Mardela Springs.
In a statement, police said the children were also locked in cupboards and a basement while being forced to eat dog excrement alongside a diet of bread, water and oatmeal.
The women, who lived together at Wright's home along with the children, reportedly threatened to kill the youngsters if they told anyone about the abuse.
"On January 26, 2018, information was received at the Maryland State Police Salisbury Barrack regarding allegations of child abuse involving the suspects," police said.
"Based on the allegations, Child Protective Services officials removed the three children from the home the night the investigation began."
The children, who have been taken into care, were said to have suffered bloody noses, cuts and bruises.
The suspects were arrested on 31 January and are detained pending a court appearance and police continue to investigate evidence, including electronic devices found at the home.
The lengthy charge sheet against them includes:Three counts each of first degree child abuse, second degree child abuse, first degree assault, second degree assault, reckless endangerment, neglect of a minor, stalking, use of a dangerous weapon with intent to injure, false imprisonment and one count each of causing ingestion of a bodily fluid, preventing/interfering with report of suspected child abuse or neglect, and conspiracy to commit first degree child abuse.