Memorial Day motorists spotted something unusual on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Drivers saw a 10-year-old girl riding in a dog cage in back of a pickup truck on the highway at around 7 p.m. on Monday, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports. Police were called and found the girl, who was unharmed, in Millvale, Pa.
The child's mother, Abbey Carlson, 29, and stepfather, Thomas Fishinger, 30, were charged with child endangerment. According to the police, the parents were driving home from visiting Fishinger’s mother’s house, when the girl asked to be with the dog on the ride back, AP reports.
Two motorists called the police and described a girl in the bed of a pickup truck. They took down the truck’s license plate number.
A photo of the child in the cage was posted on Reddit. Comments vary from concern for the child’s safety to criticism calling the arrest an overreaction.
“Did the girl show any signs of abuse or neglect? If not, these parents should not have been charged unless it is illegal in this state to ride in the back of pickup trucks. If someone is going to "lock their daughter in a cage" as abuse, do the authorities really think the parents would take her for a ride on a turnpike for everyone to see? Good grief, people,” Manofmail wrote.
The child’s maternal grandmother, who did not disclose her name, agrees.
"It was just an innocent mistake on their behalf, and it was nothing more than that," she told KSBW. "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."