A Wisconsin grandmother and another adult have been charged with keeping the woman's 9-year-old girl padlocked inside a dog kennel.
Racine County sheriff's deputies and social workers investigated a home in the town of Norway, near Wind Lake, after a teacher made a child abuse complaint Wednesday.
Sheriff Christopher Schmaling says the grandmother, 47-year-old Gale Lalonde, and the owner of the property, 48-year-old Dale Deavers, are in custody on possible charges of false imprisonment, causing mental harm to a child and other felony counts.
Grandmother Gale Lalonde, 47 (left), and Wisconsin homeowner Dale Deavers, 48 (right), have been arrested on charges of false imprisonment, causing mental harm to a child and others counts for allegedly keeping the woman's granddaughter locked up in a cage
Fit for a dog: Deputies went to Deavers' home in Wind Lake Wednesday and located the kennel, which measured 4 feet 10 inches in height, 8 feet in length and 4 feet in width (pictured)
Schmaling says the girl had been kept locked inside the wire cage.
‘I was sickened at what I witnessed last night,’ said Sheriff Schmaling, ‘This by far, is one of the most disturbing and heart-wrenching cases of child abuse I’ve seen, it doesn’t get much worse than this.’
The victim and a 10-year-old sibling have been placed into protective custody after Lalonde and Deavers' arrests.
The grandmother was apparently the children's caregiver and deputies are trying to locate their biological parents.
According to a press release from the Racine County Sheriff’s Office, just before noon on Wednesday, deputies and caseworkers from the Racine County Human Services Department responded to an elementary school in Wind Lake for a child abuse report.
An investigation has revealed that a nine-year-old girl was being held in a dog cage at night and occasionally during the daytime hours at her home in the Town of Norway, and that the kennel was padlocked ‘to prevent the child from escaping,’ according to the sheriff’s office statement.
Deputies went to the home and located the kennel, which measured 4 feet 10 inches in height, 8 feet in length and 4 feet in width.
NBC Chicago reported that the metal enclosure was outfitted with a makeshift cardboard floor and a couple of blankets.
'I wouldn't treat my own dog that way,' said the sheriff, who has three children of his own.
According to investigators, on some days, the girl spent up to 12 hours confined to the cage, and according to officials, the ordeal had lasted for at least a week.
Her older sibling was not kept in the kennel.