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Girl in dog cage strapped to truck bed

"I didn't think it was that big of a deal. We weren't going fast."

That's what Abbey Carlson told CBS Pittsburgh after she was caught by a concerned driver driving down the road with her daughter in a dog cage strapped to the bed of a truck. Carlson and her husband Thomas Fishinger tried to justify putting the 10-year-old girl in a strapped-down dog cage.

Apparently the girl often played with the dog in his cage. Fishinger claims he was worried about the dog's welfare, since the dog was whining in the back.

"I don't want a dog to suffer," Fishinger told CBS Pittsburgh. "That's like animal cruelty to me, you know, the dog crying like that."

Although Carlson says she now realizes that it was a big deal after all, her realization has come too late. Carlson and Fishinger are now facing felony child endangerment charges. The girl is now in the custody of Carlson's mother.

Recommendations of traffic safety bureaus and police say to keep a child in a booster seat until they are 4 foot, 9 inches tall.

Is it legal to carry a child in the back of a pickup even if he or she is not in a dog cage? According to Attorneys.com, 20 states have no laws prohibiting riders in the back of pickup trucks. Most of these states contain substantial rural areas where pickup trucks are needed for work uses. The remaining 30 states have laws designed for the protection of children. Some of them extend to ages as old as 19, while a few prohibit any riding in the back. Probably the most lenient is Colorado's law, which allows pickup-bed riding as long as the riders are seated and the area is enclosed on all four sides: sorry, but no hanging your feet off the tailgate.


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  • 492 Comments
      mehndif
      • 2 Years Ago
      We all make stupid mistakes, some more than others. I hate child abuse but there wasn't child abuse here. It's not safe, but this stuff happens. I know when I was younger my dad let us ride in the boat being towed by the truck to the loading dock. That wasn't safe either, but we did it. It wasn't far and he wasn't going fast. Also, my 4 year old daughter likes to hide in our dogs cage, she thinks it is funny. I say give them a fine for being dumb and unsafe, but arresting them is a little much. That was more traumatizing to the child.
      Boomslang
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Dog Whisperer will straighten out those dummies! People are so ridiculously guilt ridden when it comes to treating dogs like "members of the family".They are still animals,folks. They hump each other in public and drink from mud puddles,no matter how "smart" you think they are. Putting your kid back there while driving 70 miles an hour is not smart...in fact,unless you cover that cage,Fido could get hearing damage at that speed.And in todays world of cellphones,evryone is a reporter on the scene--"you heard it here,FIRST,remember?"
      Alphonso Carioti
      • 2 Years Ago
      What about seatbelt laws? Since there aren't any belts in the bed, passengers shouldn't be permitted to ride back there.
      neesee
      • 2 Years Ago
      I've ridden in the back of a million trucks. Here, they now require there to be a seat installed back there with a seat belt, but we used to just hop right in the back all the time.........if there is a bad accident, everybody is going to get hurt anyway, inside the truck or not.......I can't believe they even removed the girl from their custody! And felony charges? Insanity abounds.
      HI DAVE AND MARY
      • 2 Years Ago
      People, get a flipping grip, I have ridden in the back of pickup trucks to nth degree, during rain, heat of summer, and in the snow of winter, I have been in the back of trucks in the military, and never, ever, felt in danger, we are raising a generation of emotional cripples, I must pose a simile, we all know that it takes but one drop of poison to poison an entire water well, so I must ask when is a well meaner a well poisoner? Answer if you can.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @HI DAVE AND MARY
        Thanks for speaking the truth!
      homeinsulation
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm guessing Diddy, Shakira and Levine will pass....but Blake will surely take them on his team! Go Country!
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why do people keep specifying that they "rode in the back of pick-up trucks too" when they were little. I'm sure they never did it while being crunched up in the cage with the dog itself. The bible said that a time would come when people would see crimes being committed and not lift a finger to stop it. Now, what kind of human being would this driver have been to just keep on casually riding while a small child was in a cage in the back of somebody's truck? I want to hope someone would care enough about my child to report it too. The world is a crazy place, and I could see if the child actually wanted to be inside the cage, but even then the parents should've had the common sense to explain that it wasn't a good idea. Plus, what if this is not a one time thing, and they make this child sleep, eat, and bathe with the animal too. I mean, has anybody asked the kid. If so, how was the motorists who witnessed this supposed to sleep ar night knowing they saw this child and did nothing? People act like that parents are totally innocent in this, but nothing in their statements suggests that they were worried about anything but the dog. All I saw was, "I didn't think it was that big of a deal. We weren't going fast," and "I was worried about the dog's welfare, since the dog was whining in the back," and "I don't want a dog to suffer." But, when it came to their own child they didn't see the big deal...What the hell? People need to grow up!
      Tammy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ok folks, dog is scared and they view that as cruel..so they stick the kid in the crate with her because risking the kid is NOT cruel as long as the dog is happy. I have raised, owned and worked with many dogs in my nearly 60 years and a lot of dog bites come from fear biters. If a dog is scared I sure as hell would not confine a child with him. This could have been a tragic event in many ways.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I agree with 'filmdriven' . . the parents were not acting from malice and I come from a world where life is a combination of choices and risks. For those that argue the gov can do better . . read the statistics during the past several decades. Life in America reflects the distorted view of an overly socialize philosophy, where we delude ourselves into thinking if we pass enough laws we will all somehow be safer . . REALLY? How about 'dead' as well because of the suffocation of law itself. Over a million in jail for smoking herb, banks allowed to operate wrongfully and then force us to bail them out, while they pull us out of our houses and cars because THEY screwed the economy . .no one in jail for that. Yes, there should be common sense laws guiding the behavior of all citizens and our interactive relationships, but in this case, send the cowboys home, warn the parents of the potential danger and if the child is happy, then stay the hell out of their lives.
      no1gum
      • 2 Years Ago
      Maybe these people shouldn't even be dog owners, let alone parents. But since that already happened, I think some life skill classes for them would be helpful. Why even have the dog in the back of the truck to begin with? In some states that's not allowed either. I personally hate to see it and have heard of animals being injured or killed that way. Not that long ago we heard about the Romney family dog. Setting aside the parents' stupidity, they should find out what the law actually states in their location about children and animals riding in the back of the pick up. The article mentions that there is a lot of inconsistency.
      edeninvsvs
      • 2 Years Ago
      Someone should have the authority; the US the world even, would be a much better place and not overpopulated with blathering idiots. You need a license for most everything in the US but you can pop out babies like Jiffy Pop. Quite disturbing.....
      • 2 Years Ago
      But Parents making their 12 years kids weight 200lbs are free to walk...........no laws against that!
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