Two Pennsylvania parents face charges after they allegedly put their 10-year-old daughter in a dog cage
in the back of a pickup truck with her pet as they drove home from a family gathering on Memorial Day, authorities said.
Police received reports from motorists who spotted the girl in the back of the truck in western Pa. around 7 p.m. on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Millvale, near Pittsburgh. Police got the license plate and went to the address where the vehicle is registered, but the truck was not there, according to local station KSBW.
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"Officer Gapsy and I then set up on the area, and a short time later observed the vehicle turn onto Friday Road from Evergreen Road and a traffic stop was made. Officers could see the open bed of the truck, which had a dog cage with a small dog and a juvenile female in the cage," Officer Brandon Morgan wrote in the criminal complaint.
The girl's mother, Abbey Carlson, 29, and stepfather, Thomas Fishinger, 30, are now facing charges of endangering the welfare of a child, including one felony count.
Fishinger told officials the girl had said she wanted to be with the dog which is why they let her sit in the cage. He said that they were coming from his mother's house in Beaver County, according to the complaint.
The child's maternal grandmother, who did not want to be identified, told KSBW that the girl was with her on Tuesday morning and is embarrassed by the incident. She said that the girl did ask to be in the cage, and that the parents didn't think she was in danger with the cage strapped down.
"It was just an innocent mistake on their behalf, and it was nothing more than that," the grandmother said. "Yes, I quite possibly think that she could have been in danger. But I don't think that they were thinking of it that way. They would never put her in danger -- never. I know they wouldn't."
No one answered the door at the suspects' home in Millvale on Tuesday morning, according to KSBW.
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