Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Tennessee woman arrested for putting kids in dog crates...

I read an article in The New York Times about Leimome Cheeks, a 62 year old grandmother who put her 8 and 7 year old grandchildren in dog carriers in the back of her Ford Explorer and drove with them around Memphis.  A bystander took video of the children getting out of the carriers last Saturday and posted it online, where it went viral.  Ms. Cheeks was later arrested for child endangerment.  She was released on bond Sunday and arraigned Monday in Memphis.

I kind of wonder about the backstory on this...

Evidently, there was no room in Ms. Cheeks' SUV, so she told the children to get in the kennels.  It appears that the doors to the kennels were closed as the children were riding in them, which would mean they would have been trapped in them if there had been an emergency.  Moreover, it was 95 degrees in Memphis on Saturday and there were no air vents in the back of the SUV.  Bystanders called the police, who investigated the reports of the children in the carriers.  Ms. Cheeks drove to her home as police were at a nearby house.  By that point, the kids were riding in the backseat of the Explorer.

The comments about this case were pretty interesting.  On the Washington Post's article, plenty of people noted that back in the good ol' days, lots of kids rode in the backs of pickup trucks completely unrestrained.  During my childhood, it wasn't unusual for children to ride in the backs of station wagons, camped out luxuriously.  I even remember my hardcore redneck neighbors letting their kids ride on the hood of their car as they drove home from the bus stop on our dirt lane.  The ride was maybe a mile and the kids thought it was fun, even though it was also extremely dangerous.    

Today, things are a lot stricter and children are expected to be properly restrained in the backseat.  At least, that's how it is in the United States, anyway.  In Europe, it's not unusual to see children in carseats riding in the front.  In fact, I saw one last weekend.

I also noticed a lot of comments comparing the kids in the dog carriers to the children of undocumented immigrants who are being separated from their parents and allegedly locked up in cages... or so the media has reported.  I'm not exactly sure where the truth lies.  There's one picture that has been circulating around the Internet showing a sobbing toddler who appears to be in a cage.  But then I looked up the photo on Snopes and see that the photo is actually misleading.  The child is at a protest and the "cage" is actually a mock up.  He's crying because he can't figure out how to get to his mother.

This picture has been circulating lately.  It appears that the boy is locked in a cage, but he was actually at a protest about the children of illegal immigrants being separated from their parents.  Just as this picture is kind of misleading, so might be the video of the children in the dog carriers.  Either way, I will agree that seeing children in cages or dog carriers is disturbing and needs to be investigated.

I've mentioned before on this blog how difficult it must be to raise children in America nowadays.  I certainly don't condone what this grandmother did, but I do kind of wonder what exactly happened.  What were the circumstances that led up to her decision to have the kids ride in the dog carriers instead of in the backseat?  A lot of people were wondering if Grandma shouldn't try to get a job working for ICE.

Everybody's got a cellphone these days and there's always a chance that someone is filming.  I've read about plenty of cases of people turning in videos to child welfare agencies and families being haunted for years by CPS.  Sometimes, it's good that CPS is involved.  Other times, it's a nightmare.

Regardless... I think especially nowadays, it's really a stupid idea to do anything like this that might be misconstrued by people passing by.  Grandma probably should have figured out some other way to make room in the car.  Perhaps whatever was on the backseat should have been put in the carriers instead.  Or maybe Grandma could have collapsed the carriers to make more room.  Unfortunately, this is another case of really bad judgment that could lead to serious legal consequences.  On the other hand, maybe the kids are in an abusive situation.  Perhaps more information will come out about this case.  I'll be watching.


  1. I agree that even if the circumstances surrounding the kids riding in the dog carriers turn out to be benign, it was a truly dumb thing for the grandmother to have done. CPS obviously has to investigate anything of this nature if the agency is informed of it. If it was just something silly, social service resources are being unnecessarily squandered and perhaps a real emergency won't receive the attention it deserves. If the kids truly are being mistreated. it's even worse than that.

    1. Granny probably needs her head examined, either way.


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