RACINE COUNTY — One of two accused of keeping a nine-year-old girl in a dog cage in the Town of Norway is set for trial.
48-year-old Dale Deavers waived his preliminary hearing Wednesday, September 13th.
46-year-old Gail Lalonde’s hearing was rescheduled for September 20th.
Deavers and Lalonde each face four charges:
- Causing mental harm to a child
- False imprisonment
- Manufacture/deliver THC (greater than 200 to 1,000 grams)
- Maintaining a drug trafficking place
According to the criminal complaint, a school counselor reported to a deputy on September 6th that a “student told her she was being locked in a cage at night.” The counselor indicated the child had come to school with a very short haircut. The child told the counselor it was her “punishment” — to cut her own hair. The counselor interviewed the student and the child said her caregiver “would lock her in an 8’x4′ cage, and lock it with a keyed lock.” The child indicated she was locked up because she “has been going into medicine cabinets at home and destroying things.”
Lalonde lives with Deavers, who owns the residence where the alleged crime took place.
When a deputy went to the home where the child was living, he interviewed Lalonde. He asked Lalonde about a report of a child being locked up in a cage at night. Lalonde responded by saying, “Yes, that is true.” Lalonde told the deputy wherever the child has been put to sleep, the child “gets into everything.” Lalonde indicated she had been locking the child in the cage for approximately two weeks.
A more detailed search of the home where the child was being cared for turned up an active marijuana grow operation in the basement with 23 live plants, including 121.9 grams of marijuana that was dried and ready for use, and extensive equipment for ventilating the room, lights and irrigation.”
The child’s father came to the suspects’ defense.
“I never expected this to happen — let alone the severity of it,” said Brett Collins.
Collins told FOX6 News on September 8th the child is his daughter — and the people accused of locking her up are his mother and her roommate. But Collins said there is more to the story.
“The way it’s being portrayed is that my mom is this monster, who just puts her in a cage. That’s not what it is,” Collins said.
Collins said his mother was using the cage as a last resort for a mentally ill little girl who tries to harm herself and others.
“I will admit, the cage was excessive. That was too much, I am hurt by that. But locking her in her room, to protect my other daughter, my mom and her boyfriend, is the only logical thing to do,” Collins said.
Collins said he hadn’t spoken to his daughter or his mother since before the allegations surfaced.
Meanwhile, Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling called this one of the worst cases of alleged child abuse he has ever seen.
“You’ve seen the photo. Cardboard on the floor, a couple of blankets and a padlock,” Schmaling sai. “I wouldn’t treat my own dog that way.”
Schmaling said there were no dogs in the house.
“They’re locked in a jail cell, where they ought to be,” said Schmaling of the suspects.
The child and a sibling were in protective custody after the arrests.
Lalonde and Deavers made their initial appearances in Racine County court on September 8th. A court commissioner set cash bond for both defendants at $55,000.