The teacher of a nine-year-old girl began to suspect she was being abused and contacted the Racine County Sheriff’s Office, asking them to investigate. Officers visited the child’s Wind Lake, Norway home in Wisconsin on Wednesday, where they discovered a large dog cage on the floor of the living room. According to investigators, the young girl had been locked in the cage, which measured 4ft 10in high, 4ft long and 8ft wide each night, and sometimes during the day, for at least a week.

The nine-year-old's caregiver, 46-year-old Gale Lalonde, and the homeowner, 48-year-old Dale Deavers, 48, were arrested on various charges relating to Child Abuse.

Child locked up in a dog cage 12 hours a day

RT News quotes Sheriff Christopher Schmaling describing the situation as a nine-year-old girl, caged and locked up in a kennel designed for animals. In a photo posted to the Racine County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page, it shows the cage, with pieces of cardboard and some blankets on the floor and a padlock on the gate. Investigators believe the child was locked in the cage for 12 hours or more each day. Schmaling went on to tell Fox 6 that he wouldn’t treat his own dog that way, let alone a child.

According to Schmaling, they found no dogs living in the house, adding there were also, apparently, no loving family members. The sheriff went on to say the two suspects are now locked in a jail cell at the Racine County Jail, where they belong.

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Two children placed with child protective services

Lalonde, the girl’s caregiver, reportedly has custody of her and a ten-year-old sibling. Police say it is unknown why one child was locked up, but not the other. Both children have now been placed by the Racine County Human Services into protective custody.

Schmaling went on to ask what goes through a person’s mind that would cause them to purchase a dog kennel for a young child and then lock them up. He said he was sickened by what he witnessed in the home, adding it is among the worst and disturbing examples of child abuse he has ever seen and that things don’t get much worse than this.

Caregiver and homeowner charged

Lalonde is cooperating with police, but the home owner, Deavers is apparently not. Both parties appeared in court on Friday and have been charged with causing a child mental harm, along with false imprisonment and other related felony charges. Both parties are being held on a joint cash bond of $55,000 and are set to appear in court again on Wednesday.