Jeffery Barrett was found guilty of trafficking five adopted children and sentenced to life in prison. Texas will require that he spend at least 30 years in jail before being eligible for parole. In September 2021, his wife, Barbara Barrett was sentenced to 99 years for the same charge.
The Texas Attorney General’s Office of Human Trafficking and Transnational Organized Crime Division assisted the Hunt County District Attorney in prosecuting Jeffrey and Barbara Barrett after they were accused of forcing their adopted children to work in an illegal puppy mill.
Indictments filed Sept. 1, 2021 say that the Barretts “did knowingly traffic” the adopted children “through force, fraud or coercion” to “engage in forced labor or services”.
It all started at least eight years ago. At least that is how long the neighbors knew that something was wrong. But when authorities rescued more than 100 dogs from what is described as terrible, dirty conditions, the child protection agency finally checked on the adopted children, and now the children are in Texas’ horrific foster care system. The good news though is that the adoptive “parents” finally got caught using the adoption industry to traffick children for the use of forced labor. Thanks to the area’s leading humane animal society intervening for the dogs to live in better conditions.
The area’s leading animal advocacy program, SPCA of Texas Vice President of Communications Maura Davies said, “The area where the animals lived was filthy. It was just covered in feces and urine and the animal’s physical conditions were also not good. Their coats were overgrown, matted and covered in feces. This looked to me very much like a puppy mill. There was a lot of rehabilitation for this particular group of animals”.
Jeffery and Barbara Barrett were then accused of using five adopted children, three boys and two girls ranging in age from 12 to 17, to run the illegal puppy mill.
“It was kind of hard to hide,” neighbor, Saul Rodriguez Jr said, “The kids were going to school with us for a while, maybe a year or so, and after that they didn’t go to school anymore. “The parents didn’t want us around them. They never left the house. They just didn’t want to interact with anybody. One time there was a ball that went over to the side of their house and they yelled at us for trespassing.”
The Texas Department of Child Protective Services reports the Barrett’s children were “removed from their parent’s care around the time the animals were taken from the home. The children are now in the foster care system”.
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