A police dash-cam video shows officers rescuing four scared puppies from a cage strapped to the roof of a van traveling on an Ohio highway Friday.
Akron police pulled over the driver and his family after receiving multiple 911 calls about the dogs, who were wind-battered but didn't have any injuries, Sgt. Kris Beitzel told NBC affiliate WKYC.
“I did ask him why the dogs were not riding in the car, and he said he had far more important things to put in the car, meaning his children, and there wasn’t room," Beitzel said.
The family of six, who was not identified, was driving about 70 mph on Interstate 76 when police caught up with them. They were driving 300 miles from Ashland County, Ohio, to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, WKYC reported.
"Sure enough ... dogs in a cage on the roof," one of the 911 callers said. "Unbelievable."
The terrified puppies were huddled together in their cage, which was covered on three sides with a tarp, Beitzel said. The family told police that they didn't want to keep the 3-month-old dogs, but also didn't want to put them down.
"I didn't see any injuries. They would not leave each other," Beitzel said of the pups. "They had urinated all over the inside of the cage. When I tried to get them out, they were trying to crawl back in."
The family, Mennonites, handed the puppies over to police, and was told that it's against the law to transport animals on top of a vehicle. They were given a warning.
"He understood that. He said had he known, he would have agreed to never transport them," Beitzel told WKYC.
The Mennonite community, a Christian group, sees animals as property, and the family had put the puppies on top of the vehicle because of their beliefs, police told WKYC.
The puppies were taken to Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital in Akron for a check-up and then will be taken to an animal shelter.