Imagine being a kid, locked in a cage outside your home "for your own safety."  You were out there overnight and during rainstorms.

As Fox News reported, Wyoming authorities have said a man kept a 7-year-old boy locked up outside his home in a cage. He allegedly told deputies that he disliked the child, but he kept the little boy in an outdoor cage to better ensure the child's safety.

The man, Alexander Smith, will be in court on Thursday, August 7 for a preliminary hearing. Jena Harman, the boy's mother, has already been transferred over to district court.

They were both charged with one count of child abuse and three counts of felonious restraint.

The two were arrested July 24 after sheriff's office deputies got a tip that the child was caged outside a rural Laramie, Wyo. home. The man was described as the woman's live-in boyfriend.

Law-enforcement officials had responded several times since August 2013 to reports by teachers and neighbors of possible abuse or neglect of the boy, but no charges were filed.

Reports said that deputies described the cage as being about 6-square-feet and 5-feet-tall. The cage had other items like a toothbrush, toothpaste and a five-gallon bucket, according to court documents.

Deputies said the child reported living in the cage on and off for three weeks, eating meals there and sleeping overnight even during rainstorms in the cage. The outdoor cage appeared to be made with cattle paneling with a sheet of plywood on top.

The couple periodically fed the child and sometimes freed him to use the bathroom, a prosecutor said.

If convicted, the couple face up to 40 years in prison, the report said.