A DAD is accused of locking his young son in a hellhole basement for hours on end and allowing their pet dog to BITE the helpless child.

Alex Shadlow is accused of locking up his son, then eight-years-old, for at least nine hours a day last summer in a space under the basement stairs.

The 30-year-old, from Iowa, pleaded not guilty to a kidnapping charge. He faces a potential life sentence in prison if convicted.

He is said to have slept on concrete and had no access to a bathroom.

Police say Shadlow's girlfriend, Traci Tyler, also urged her dog to attack the boy, which left scars on his back and limbs.

Local news reports how cops said the child was "intentionally subjected to physical and mental torture" and was only let out to go to school.

Charging documents allege the youngster was not let out to use the bathroom and was given a tin coffee can to use as a toilet.

Ackley Police Chief Brian Shimon described the boy as being "locked in a dungeon".

Hardin County Attorney Darrell Meyer called it "a coffin".

The little boy is said to have told a teacher about the basement enclosure who then alerted authorities.
Hardin County District Court records Shadlow entered a written plea to a kidnapping charge on Monday.

A trial date hasn't been set.
Tyler, also has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping.
Her trial is to begin Sept. 11.