A frail and malnourished 5-year-old boy was in grave condition Wednesday after he was found living with more than a dozen pets in squalid conditions in his father’s home, police said.

The father, Benjamin Whitten, and his live-in girlfriend, Jeryn Johnson, were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of torture, child abuse and causing great bodily injury, said Lt. Tony Conrad, spokesman for the Murrieta Police Department.

Authorities had received a call of a juvenile in medical distress at a home in the 24000 block of Verdun Lane, Conrad said. When police and fire officials arrived, they found the boy suffering from severe injuries and malnutrition. He was airlifted to a San Diego County hospital for medical treatment.

During the investigation into the child’s “dire condition,” police said, detectives searched his home and discovered “extremely unsanitary” living conditions.

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