Woman arrested after police say she transported kids in pet kennels
A Memphis grandmother has been arrested after a viral video appeared to showed her transporting children in dog kennels in the baking heat.
Leimome Cheeks allegedly put the children, aged eight and nine, in cages on Saturday, after there was not enough room in her SUV for them to sit in it. She then drove from Whitehaven to Collierville, Tennessee with the pair in the back of her truck.
It was 95 degrees Fahrenheit in Memphis that day and the children claimed that there were no air conditioning vents in the back of the vehicle, telling police that they became too hot.
The video in question shows Cheeks opening the back door of the car to let a young girl out of the trunk on the 3700 block of Elvis Presley Boulevard, near Graceland. The girl, wearing green leggings and a purple top, slowly lowers herself to the ground and hops down from the vehicle after being cramped in the cage.
According to the Memphis Police Department, the 62-year-old admitted what she had done and was charged with two counts of child endangerment after the footage emerged.
However, she allegedly also defended herself, claiming that she had checked on the children periodically. She added that they were later let into the back of the vehicle.
Despite her protestations, she has been deemed "heartless" by many online. When the Memphis Police Department posted about the incident, numerous Facebook users posted comments that named Cheeks a "slave monster" and "disgusting".
Twitter user William J Jackson wrote: "Who the hell puts kids in dog kennels in a trunk? My entire soul is bothered by this. I watched a child crawl out of a damn dog cage."
"Put her in prison she's no grandmother," added Facebook user Dionne Collis Raj.
Cheeks' neighbour, Skylark Blake, said he was shocked by the incident and claimed that it was out of character. "I'm still shocked. I really can't see her doing that. She's such a nice lady," he told WREG-TV.
In addition, he revealed that the grandmother had recently bought two new puppies, which was why the kennels were in her vehicle.
FOX13 also spoke with another neighbour, named Camillia Cowan, who told the news channel she was horrified to see the video on Facebook. “When I saw her face on Facebook, I was like wait a minute that looks like my neighbour across the street,” she said.
She added that she doubted her neighbour knew what she was doing wrong, stating: "I don’t think she knew because she loves her grandkids. They’re always outside playing with the dogs and stuff."
Sources claim that Cheeks posted a bond of $100 on Sunday morning and the department of children’s services is now investigating the family.