Couple Accused of Locking Girl in Dog Kennel

A couple was charged with locking the woman's 11-year-old daughter in a chain-link dog kennel for days at a time as discipline, letting her out only for school and chores.

Eric Bare (search), 41, and Deborah Lee Cameron (search), 34, were released from jail Wednesday night after posting bail, but they cannot have contact with the girl, who is in protective custody.

They were charged with two counts of unreasonable restraint of a child (search), a misdemeanor. They were assigned attorneys but had not met with them as of Thursday afternoon. Their next court appearances were scheduled for the end of the month.

The girl, now 13, told police about the alleged punishment when they responded to reports of screaming from the home in January. A police complaint said she was confined for three days in August 2003 and for seven days in October 2003, when she was 11.

Bare allegedly told police he placed two car seats in the kennel along with a throw rug and a blanket. He said the kennel — 12 feet long, 3 feet wide and 6 feet high — was assembled over a floor drain in case the girl needed to urinate, according to the complaint.

On Wednesday, Bare told WCCO-TV of Minneapolis that "I think we are very good parents."

He told the station that he could understand why some people would question the punishment but "if you come from an opposite, different, perspective you might have totally different questions." He didn't elaborate.

Cameron allegedly told police it was Bare's idea to put the girl in the kennel but that she agreed to it. The criminal complaint said the couple had been together 10 years and the girl called Bare "Dad," though he was not her biological father.

County Attorney Susan Gaertner said she thought the couple's actions deserved more serious charges, but said no felonies fit the facts of the case.

"It's so incomprehensible that a couple would think it was OK ... appropriate ... to confine a young girl in a dog kennel," Gaertner said.