Angela and David Lore were arrested on Wednesday and charged with child neglect, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and animal cruelty. Twenty-two arrest warrants indicate the Lores left their four children alone for long periods with dead and decaying animals in the living areas.
SLIDESHOW: Trash, Animal Cages Litter Front Yard
RAW VIDEO: 4 Children Removed From Rowan Home
Still, Robert Sifford, who lives next to the Lores' Salisbury pet store, considers himself their friend and said he saw the children happy with their parents at the store. He also said the children were home-schooled in a back room.
Doug Bailey, who operated a store across the street, said he saw home-schooling taking place.
"They would take the little girls in the back room. I've come over and talked to them (to) get to know them," Bailey said. "I asked, ‘How often do you get tested?' They said, ‘Yeah, we go through the testing criteria.'"
Rowan County investigators said they have no doubts about the abuse charges they filed.
"Our officers have investigated and definitely believe there's a problem out there," said Lt. Michael Agner with the Rowan County Sheriff's Department.
Agner said when deputies got a complaint about the Lores on March 1, they found a Department of Social Services investigation had already been under way since December.
The head of Rowan County's DSS confirmed the department's investigation of the Lores but wouldn't say if there have been other cases.
She did confirm that the children are together with relatives and are now being enrolled in public schools.
Their parents remain in jail.
Previous Stories: March 24, 2011: Deputies: Dead Animals, Trash Filled Home Where 4 Children Lived