In a disturbing case of child abuse, two caretakers, Gale D. Lalonde, 47, and Dale A. Deavers, 48, were arrested Wednesday for allegedly keeping a nine-year-old girl in a dog kennel in Wisconsin. An investigation found the young girl was locked in the cage at night for at least a week, and occasionally throughout the day at her residence.

Lalonde and Deavers were taken into custody for causing mental harm to a child, false imprisonment among other charges. 

On Thursday, the Racine County Sheriffs Office released a press statement in which Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said: “I was sickened at what I witnessed last night. 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.”

He also said: "I wouldn't treat my own dog that way," according to NBC Chicago. Schmaling added the young girl would be locked in the cage even during the weekends, while the caretakers “had other things to do.” Investigators also found that the kennel was padlocked to prevent the girl from escaping.

The investigation began when Racine County sheriff officials, along with Racine County Human Services, responded to an elementary school complaint earlier this week. After arriving at the house, investigators found a dog kennel measuring 4 feet 10 inches in height, 4 feet in width and 8 feet in length. Along with the nine-year-old girl, another sibling of hers was found and then both of them were sent into protective custody in the Racine County Human Services.

However, as Schmaling said, the sibling was not inside the cage. He also said that the girl was caged inside the kennel for at least a week for about 12 hours a day. She would be put there at the night and then released in the morning to go to school. She is currently being questioned by officials, according to NBC Chicago.

However, it remains unclear why the girl was being caged like that. The sheriff also said Deavers was not cooperating with police and that he could have stopped the alleged abuse. The other caretaker was cooperating with authorities to solve the case, the report said.

After the sheriff's office posted the image of the kennel along with the statement on Facebook, many users sympathized with the abused children in the comments section.

One of the users wrote: "This brings me back to when I was a kid. Bob Greene, a writer for the Chicago Tribune, wrote a series about the children in Bristol Wisconsin who had been kept in cages and in horrifying conditions by their parents. Unfathomably cruel. I hope these children get the help, love & support they need in order to become fully functioning adults."

Some of the users vented out their anger by saying the parents should be locked inside the dog cage with just water and bread for a week. One user questioned why the child was being subjected to that kind of treatment. The user said "behavioral issue" with the child may have prompted the caretakers to lock her. She said the full picture would become clear only after more details are revealed about the case.

Child abuse cases are becoming increasingly common in the United States. Each day, people are arrested on charges of child abuse, according to,  one of the first online law and government information sites. However, all child abuse accusations do not result in the filing of criminal charges.