Note: we are republishing this story in light of recent reports that show child abuse has significantly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. More on this here: https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2021-10-08/study-confirms-rise-in-child-abuse-during-covid-pandemic
A Texas couple has been arrested after allegedly physically abusing three young children.
James Howard Chalkley, 32, and Cheyanne Chalkley, 22, are accused of forcing three children to brush their teeth with cat feces and beating the children with thorns, shock collars and belts, Daily Mail reported.
James is the father of the three children -- a 2-year-old boy, a 5-year-old girl and a 10-year-old girl. Cheyanne is their stepmother. The kids were put in foster care in September after the 5-year-old girl's teacher noticed some bruises on the child and called police.
After interviewing the two sisters, Child Protective Services workers learned about the disturbing details of the abuse they allegedly faced at the hands of their parents.
The children said that on one occasion, they told Cheyanne that their father became infuriated when they didn't clean up cat droppings he had found in a closet. That's when James allegedly smeared the feces on his children and forced his 5-year-old daughter to eat the animal waste.
James then forced the young girl to brush her teeth with the feces until she bled, according to the arrest affidavit.
Another incident involved James using a dog collar to shock the 5-year-old. The shocks left green marks on the child's skin.
The children told police both James and Cheyanne would hit them with a belt and sometimes use thorny switches from a lemon tree. James once allegedly asked Cheyanne if his punishments were too extreme. Cheyanne responded that she would have punished them more if they were her children.
The young girls told police Cheyanne was usually present whenever they were being punished, My San Antonio reported. They added that their father told them that CPS wants to get him into “trouble and break up their family" just because they bruise easily, according to the arrest warrant.
Texas Child Protective Services has contacted the couple on three previous occasions. One 2016 incident involved the children being left unsupervised. Another took place in January 2015, when the children were forced to stand outside in the nude as they were sprayed with cold water for misbehaving.
James and Cheyanne were both charged with injury to a child. Cheyanne faces two counts, while James faces a separate charge from an Oct. 6 arrest, police said.
The couple would often post photos of the children on their Facebook accounts. Cheyanne reportedly captioned one photo: "I love my husband and my kids!!!"