Judge: Parenting classes for mother, boyfriend accused of driving with girl in dog cage

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MILLVALE, Pa. - A woman and her boyfriend appeared in court Thursday, accused of driving a pickup truck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike with the woman’s daughter, 10, riding in the back in a dog cage.

Abby Carlson and her boyfriend, Thomas Fishinger, pulled up to their preliminary hearing in the same blue Chevrolet pickup truck officials said was driven during the Memorial Day weekend incident.

“The judge made a reasonable resolution that after a certain period of time, they'll come back, after parenting classes,” said Jon Maknoon, Carlson’s lawyer. “He has every right to be upset about hearing the facts of the case, and he wanted to drive home the importance of them recognizing the behavior was unacceptable.”

At one point during the hearing, Fishinger began laughing, to which Judge Robert Dzvonick responded, “How dare you. Sit back and listen to the 10-year-old.”

The girl is currently in the custody of her grandmother, who attended the hearing.

Maknoon spoke on her behalf, saying that the family requests attention be taken off of the girl because the situation is making her nervous and uncomfortable.

Carlson and Fishinger have been given six weeks to enroll in parenting classes.

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