Two starving children who were allegedly forced to eat stray dogs to survive have been rescued from their cockroach-infested home in Ukraine.
Neglected four-year-old Masha and her two-year-old brother were found surrounded by piles of rubbish and taken away by police officers after they raided the filthy flat in the city of Kharkiv, northeast Ukraine.
Their mother, Lilia Granenko, 30, is said to have killed stray dogs in the area and used their meat to feed the starving children.
The children were reportedly surrounded by their own excrement after their toilet broke at the rat-infested home, where cockroaches would ‘drop from the ceiling’.
The children, who allegedly never went outside, also lived with their grandmother, whose name has not been disclosed.
The women reportedly stuffed their home with waste from rubbish bins which they collected for years, leaving the flat infested with rats and cockroaches.
‘Cockroaches fall down from the ceiling in there and the stench makes you retch with disgust’, a neighbour said.
The toilet in the flat is out of order and water supply was cut off long ago for unpaid bills, according to reports.
Granenko was arrested after police received a call from neighbours and raided the family home. The mother now faces five years in prison if convicted of neglect.
Volunteer Yevgeny Zub, who filmed the police operation said: ‘The mother, grandmother and the children relieve themselves right on the floor.
‘I’ve seen a lot but never something like that.’
Police raided the family home in the city of Kharkiv, northeast Ukraine, after receiving a call from neighbours.
A video shows officers making their way through mounds of rubbish before carrying the youngsters away while their mother is heard expressing discontent about the situation.
The boy had to be carried out wearing only a reused nappy because ‘he did not have any clothes’, witnesses said.
Eventually, the toddler was wrapped in a blanket and handed to officers by a kind local resident.
Both children were taken to hospital for examinations.
Animal rights activists also arrived at the scene after receiving a tip-off that ‘the mother catches stray dogs and uses their meat to feed her children’.
Mr Zub said: ‘The pooches are being killed in the apartment then cooked and eaten by the family.’
Four canines were found locked in one of the rooms and rescued by the activists.
Law enforcement spokesman Oleksandr Salo commented: ‘A criminal case for malicious non-compliance with child-rearing obligations has been initiated against the mother.’
Granenko, who has five children from different men, was previously deprived of parental rights.
She lost custody of her oldest child to the father. Two of her other older children were placed into an orphanage by the court.
The rescued siblings are to be placed in an orphanage as well until the court decides their further fate.
The mother faces up to five years in prison if convicted. The investigation continues.