10-year-old put in cage with dog as parents drove home

May 29, 2013 at 12:05 PM
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Two Pennsylvania parents are being charged with endangering the welfare of a child after they put their 10-year-old daughter in a dog cage in the flatbed of their pickup truck as they drove home from a family gathering on Monday.

Newsmax reports Pittsburgh police received reports from motorists on Monday claiming they had seen a girl caged in the back of a truck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Millvale, near Pittsburgh on Monday.

"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.

Police traced the vehicle through its license plate but the truck was not found at the address where it was registered. Now, the girl's mother, Abbey Carlson, 29, and her stepfather, Thomas Fishinger, 30, are facing charges of endangering the welfare of a child, including one felony count.

Fishinger reportedly told police the girl had requested to be put with the dog in the cage, which is why they complied and put her there.

The child's maternal grandmother, who chose not to disclose her name, told KSBW the girl had been left in her custody on Tuesday and that she was very embarrassed about the incident.

"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."

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