In the US, an abusive couple have been jailed after they withheld food and water from their children, who became so thirsty they were forced to drink from the toilet.

Nevada couple Jonathan and Marlaina Rockwood had adopted seven children and 10 dogs, allegedly keeping their food locked away.

The couple even turned off the water supply and installed alarms on the doors of their homes to monitor their children.

Police were alerted on July 8 after reports of a runaway child.

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Officers found the 8-year-old girl, who said her adoptive mother had punched her repeatedly.

Another sibling revealed their adoptive father pinned the daughter against the fridge while Marlaina beat her up.

Police also found dog leashes tied to door handles to keep children in their rooms.

The girl told police she and her siblings were denied food and water, even when they used the bathroom.

She said she "has personally observed her siblings drink water from the toilet because they are thirsty", according to local new outlet ElkoDaily.

The children also told police they were repeatedly beaten by Marlaina and that they were smacked with Jonathan's studded buckle belt.

Both parents were charged with child abuse and booked at the Elko County Jail on $100,000 bond.