SODDY-DAISY, Tennessee -- Police said the children were found surrounded by piles of trash and feces.
When officers went to a Tennessee home on a child welfare call, they weren't prepared to find an animal hoarding case as well.
Three little boys and 10 animals were found living together in absolute squalor.
The bodies of 11 animals were also found inside a freezer, but it was not immediately clear how long they had been there or how they died.
Video and pictures from the scene show garbage strewn about the home.
Police said they found a latch placed on one of the children's bedroom doors, where at least one boy was found locked inside.
As officers and Humane Educational Society officials gathered evidence, the children's parents, Dustin and Staci Tallent, were found handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser.
Dustin Tallent's father Wallace defended his son, saying there was no criminal intent or negligence inside the home.
"It's a matter of very poor housekeeping," Wallace Tallent said.
A news chopper spotted piles of garbage surrounding the home.
Officers said there was garbage covering nearly every inch of the house.
The dead animals were placed in white trash bags and placed in the back of a truck.
"Our hope is that they weren't neglected so bad where they died and they put them in the freezer," Humane Educational Society director Bob Citrullo said.
The animal welfare group said it hopes to rehome the surviving 10 animals with loving homes.
There is no word on what will happen with the couple's children, or what charges the couple may face.