Police say home was unsanitary
By Nicole Young • THE TENNESSEAN • July 16, 2010
An Antioch woman is charged with aggravated child neglect and faces 26 state charges for aggravated animal cruelty after Metro police discovered her living in unsanitary conditions with her four young children Thursday.
Dorothy Kifer, 37, was trying to herd horses back onto her property at 4334 Maxwell Road at about 7 a.m. when police responded to a complaint about horses running in the street.
As she and Hermitage Precinct Officer Jeb Johnston approached her remote Davidson County home, the officer recognized the grave conditions and called for backup, Metro police spokeswoman Kristin Mumford said.
"There were vultures in the trees around this house when the doors were opened," Mumford said.
Once inside the 1,300 square foot, two-story home, police found Kifer's four children — ages 19 months, 2, 4, and 6 — covered in what appeared to be mud and animal feces, Mumford said.
The home did not have air conditioning or running water.
"The children appeared to be of normal weight, but they were listless," she said. "It was already 95 degrees when youth services detectives took temperatures from inside the home at 10 a.m."
Health inspectors donned gas masks and hazmat suits before they entered the home.
They declared it unfit for human occupancy after finding three dead dogs and sewage and wastewater on the ground. Police said it appears the animals died from dehydration.
Kifer was arrested and her children were taken to Vanderbilt children's hospital where they were evaluated and released into the custody of the Department of Children's Services.
Animal Control officers removed 15 malnourished, underweight dogs from the property. They also are providing food and water for eight horses.
Mumford said Kifer's husband, Jesse Kifer, returned to Middle Tennessee on Thursday after serving as a national guardsman in Iraq.
"We don't know if he had any idea of the living conditions," she said.
"DCS will decide if the children should stay in their custody or go to a family member."