Andrew Fabila and Paige Harkings, both 24, were arrested on Tuesday in Wise County, Texas when police made the gruesome discovery while responding to a domestic disturbance at their home.
Deputies responded to a "shop-type" outbuilding near Rhome, which lies about 25 miles northwest of Fort Worth, after receiving a call around 7:20 a.m. reporting "some sort of physical altercation or argument", Johnson said.
The two oldest children, four and five years old, were locked in the dog cage, according to CNN.
The chief deputy said deputies found a refrigerator in the makeshift residence with three straps on it, positioned so the children couldn't access it. She is the mother to all four children, while he is the father of one, according to authorities.
Wise County jail records show Andrew Joseph Fabila and Paige Isabow Harkings, from North Texas, are each charged with four counts of criminal child endangerment.
The oldest two were locked in the cage that was just three-by-three feet (90-by-90 cm), and the other two were filthy and only partially clothed, Akin said.
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"I've not worked one where children are locked inside a dog kennel, and I find that absolutely disgusting", he said.
Wise County Emergency Medical Services personnel transported all of the children to Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth for evaluation.
"The others appeared malnourished, covered in urine and feces", Akin said.
Akin did not immediately return messages from The Associated Press, but he told The Dallas Morning News it's the worst case of child abuse he has seen in his 44 years in law enforcement.
Fabila had to be taken to the hospital for wounds on his face before being charged but was taken to jail after his treatment.
Harkings, the children's mother, and was also charged with aggravated assault. The man had cuts to his face. Officials think they were living at the home for several weeks, KMOV reported. They did not have an attorney Tuesday, but a public defender is expected to be assigned to their case Wednesday, Akins said.