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Threat to electrify dog cage with girl inside just 'horseplay'

A man accused of punishing his 12-year-old daughter by binding her hands and feet with duct tape and sticking her in a dog cage, then threatening to electrify the crate, was just engaging in "some horseplay" that "got out of control," his lawyer says.

Here's what happened, according to a report from NBC station WLWT of Cincinnati:

The Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Office said James Tapke restrained his 12-year-old daughter's hands and feet using duct tape before placing her in a dog cage on Jan. 10. Then, while his daughter was in the cage, investigators said, Tapke dropped small amounts of water on her face.

According to court papers, the victim was in the cage for about 20 minutes before her 13-year-old brother let her out. When she got out, authorities said, the victim poured water on her father's head and in his ear.

Tapke then bound his daughter again with duct tape and put her back in the dog cage, investigators said, and while she was in the cage, Tapke told his son to go to the garage and retrieve an electrical jump pack so that he could electrify the cage. The girl's brother brought the jump pack and placed it in front of the cage, so his sister could see it.

Tapke never attempted to electrify the cage, but investigators said he told his daughter several times he would.

Tapke then let her out of the cage, and her grandmother helped her with taking off the duct tape, authorities said. During the entire incident, authorities said the girl's brother and her father took pictures of her in the cage.

Her brother posted the pictures on Facebook, investigators said, but the pictures were deleted.

In court on Thursday, Tapke's attorney, Christopher Jackson, said that the entire incident was a joke.

"We believe the evidence will eventually show that this was simply some horseplay that ended up, you know, taking pictures." Jackson said. "It just doesn't look that funny when you see it in pictures ... Maybe not the best joke in the world, but I believe that's what is going to come out later at trial."

"Judge, if this is a joke, it's about the most unfunny joke I've ever heard," said assistant prosecutor Matt Broo. 

Tapke, 41, was charged with child endangering. Bond was set at $50,000.

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