A seven-year-old boy has been found living with a family of pigs – and is unable to communicate with humans.
When social workers visited the family home in Fangyu City, in central China’s Henan Province, they found the boy in one of the pig pens, covered in filth and dirt and with bruises and cuts all over his body.
There has been a suggestion that the parents allegedly neglected his three siblings and they died, and a fourth child was reportedly taken away by the boy’s aunt shortly after birth.
The alarm was raised after pictures were posted on social media showing the boy riding with a pig in the back of his father’s farm tricycle.
After he was identified and tracked down by local media, neighbours revealed the boy, identified as seven-year-old Liu Hongbo, was often heard crying after being beaten by his mother.
One said: “When somebody goes round sometimes to tell her to stop, she just smiles as if nothing has happened. She’s always beating him and throwing him around the house.”
When he was found, he was sleeping outside on a pile of clothes in an empty pigpen and “smelt like a pig” but the social workers, from a nearby children’s home, were unable to take him away as they need permission from city officials before being able to intervene.
He apparently cannot speak, although despite the neglect the experts believe, if put into a normal environment, he might still learn to speak and have a normal life.
I CrossChina reports that the boy has been sent to stay with his aunt and will be admitted to a local hospital for a physical examination.