US parents arrested on suspicion of keeping autistic child in animal cage

California police said the 11-year-old boy is believed to have been kept in a large metal cage, possibly to control his outbursts

The parents of an autistic child have been arrested for allegedly keeping their 11-year-old son in a large metal cage designed for animals, police in California have said.

Officers were called to a property in Anaheim following an anonymous tip given to the Orange County Child Protective Services.

The cage was similar to an extra-large dog kennel and was found in the home with a mattress and other bedding inside, Anaheim police Lt. Bob Dunn said.

He said there had been varying reports of how much time the child, who was believed not have been inside it when it was discovered, had spent in it.

"It appeared that as he grew older his episodes of violence and outbursts were increasing and perhaps the parents utilised the cage as a tool to modify that and to contain him when that was happening," he said.

"Obviously, putting your child in a locked cage, even if you're desperate for help, is not the best course of action," Mr Dunn added.

The boy's Vietnamese parents, who do not speak English fluently, were arrested on suspicion of felony child endangerment and false imprisonment. They have not made a court appearance and had not yet been formally charged.

The child was well-nourished and appeared otherwise healthy and his two siblings, ages 8 and 10, were also unharmed, police said. They were all placed in protective custody.

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