SEMINOLE — Timothy and Rebecca Gunter were warned: clean up their act — and their house.
That warning was delivered by child protective investigators in April after discovering the abysmal state of their home. Carpets soaked in dog feces and urine. Food infested by mold and bugs. Knives on the couch. And four children ages 3 to 12 left filthy, covered in cuts, open sores and bite marks, deputies said.
But the state said it offered to help the parents clean the house and take better care of the kids — or else.
The couple didn't take up the state on its offer, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. That's why Timothy Wayne Gunter and Rebecca Ann Gunter were charged Thursday with domestic child neglect.
Then Friday morning, a judge ordered the children into state custody.
"They were filthy, dirty and living in rundown squalor," said Pinellas sheriff's Sgt. Tom Nestor.
The children — boys ages 3 and 8; girls ages 11 and 12 — were not identified by the Sheriff's Office.
The father, Timothy Gunter, 36, has a job. But deputies said he told them that taking care of his home and his children wasn't his job. He said that was the job of his wife, Rebecca Gunter, 31.
"I work all day, and it's her job to keep the house and the kids clean," the father said, according to deputies.
The mother did not make any statements.
Both parents were being held in the Pinellas County Jail on Friday evening without bond.
Thursday was the third time investigators had visited the home since April, Nestor said, and they still didn't like what they saw.
"They did make some attempt to clean up," he said of the parents, "but it's just not enough."