Danbury, CT — A Connecticut couple is facing child abuse charges after investigators discovered that one allegedly forced a 9-year-old girl to wear an electric dog collar as punishment.
Eduardo and Paula Montanez were arrested Tuesday, five days after a Danbury school employee contacted the state Department of Children and Families about suspected child abuse, according to NBC Connecticut.
The DCF and Danbury police found that 43-year-old Eduardo Montanez used a PetSafe barking collar on the girl because of a poor progress report. Montanez forced the girl to bark so that the collar would shock her. He was charged with third-degree assault, two counts of risk of injury to a minor and cruelty to a person. He appeared in state Superior Court Wednesday and the judge set his bond at $250,000.
Paula Montanez, 34, was reportedly present at the time of the abuse and did nothing to stop it. She was charged with two counts of risk of injury to a minor, conspiracy to commit third-degree assault and conspiracy to commit cruelty to a person. Her bond was set at $200,000.
Police said the girl went back to school and told a teacher what happened. The victim said she was only forced to wear the dog collar once, but had marks on her neck that indicated it happened more often. The girl also told investigators that the couple beat her several times, but didn’t say when the beatings took place.
Eduardo Montanez’s defense attorney said there is substantial evidence that the girl lied about the abuse for attention, and that the sealed warrant alleges there is a U-shaped bruise on her neck.
It is unclear if the girl is the couple’s daughter, but she is currently in state custody. Detective Sgt. Bryan Bishop would only say the girl was in the couple’s care, but did not specify her relationship to Eduardo and Paula Montanez.