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Florida mother arrested after five kids found living in filthy home

By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO Fla. (Reuters) - A Florida mother has been charged with child neglect after her 10-year-old boy came to school in foul-smelling clothes and told a teacher he could not remember when he last took a bath, court documents showed.

Betsy Velasquez, 34, of Kissimmee, was charged on Tuesday and was released from the Osceola County jail on Wednesday on a $1,000 bond.

Investigators were alerted by an elementary school teacher who also said the boy had been coming to school late and hungry. The boy told his teacher he had to pick dirty clothes out of a hamper because he did not have clean ones to wear, according to the affidavit.

A deputy who entered the house wore a face mask and found five children aged 8 to 14 and seven dogs, including a puppy near death in a cardboard box, the affidavit said.

The deputy reported dog feces and urine covering the floors, walls, part of the ceiling, furniture and piles of laundry.

Velasquez told the officer she had not cleaned the house in six months, the affidavit said. Her five children were sent to live with relatives, and an animal control officer removed the dogs, it added.

A state child protective services investigator who was called to the scene described the house as "an environmental hazard extremely dangerous to children," the affidavit said.

(Reporting by Barbara Liston; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Mohammad Zargham)

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