PECULIAR, Mo. -- Five Cass County children were removed from a 200th Street home and their mom has been charged with child endangerment.
But Tiffany Burton’s neighbors call her a good mom and an animal lover who may have simply become overwhelmed.
“When you pull in the driveway they give you the biggest wave you’ve ever seen and they are happy," neighbor Bill Morris said.
“She’s definitely not a bad mom. She’s overwhelmed. She loves her kids; her kids adore her," another neighbor said.
A Cass County deputy was called to the home May 16th when the children didn’t return to school for a few days after being sent home for head lice.
At the home, he noticed feces in the kitchen and trash on every horizontal surface, and said he was covered in fleas and ticks.
The deputy said the five children age 2-12 had many red marks and scratches, possibly from bug bites.
Tiffany Burton let FOX4 into the home where she she lives with cats, dogs, a pig and seven chickens. Two horses live outside feeding on the overgrown front yard.
"The pig was a temporary situation, and the chickens were chicks too young to be put outside," a neighbor and friend who asked not to be identified explained.
The deputy called Cass County Children’s Division and a social worker arrived saying there was already a safe plan in place for the children to stay in the parents’ bedroom because it was cleaner. Burton had met with the agency at the home a week prior.
The deputy disagreed, arresting Tiffany Burton for five counts of child endangerment.
“She just wants her kids back she’s going to improve things to get her kids back," the friend said.
Burton says she’s been spending hours on the phone with her kids each day, assuring them they’ll be home soon. Burton is due back in court Wednesday.
The Cass County office of Missouri's Children’s Division did not return calls inquiring about the agency's "safe plan," which the Sheriff's Office found insufficient.