The Steiner family from Nova, Ohio, had no idea transporting caged puppies on their minivan’s roof was illegal, but thanks to dozens of calls to 911 and quick acting officers, the family was stopped and the traumatized puppies rescued.
Wendell Steiner, his wife, Candace, and their four children, all under the age of 5 thought they were doing a good thing by transporting four puppies from Nova, Ohio, to Chambersburg, Penn., on April 17, 2015. The original dogs’ owner, Candance’s father, was not able to keep the pets any longer and the Steiner volunteered to take them to another family member’s home.
The trip was a 300 mile long trip, and the family placed the three-month-old dogs inside a crate strapped to the car’s roof. They had placed a blanket covering the crate but because they were traveling more than 50 miles an hour on the highway, part of the blanket came off exposing the puppies to the high winds.
Concerned animal lovers and fellow highway riders noticed the scared puppies on the roof of the car and started dialing 911. The Steiners weren’t stopped until they reached Interstate 76 near Gilchrist Road in East Akron.
Officer Jim Cunningham stopped the van and when he questioned the family, Wendell told police he had no idea it was illegal to transport animal strapped to the roof of the car, if he had known so, he would have not agreed to transfer the dogs.
The Steiners agreed to sign over the puppies to the Akron police. Cunningham took custody of the dogs and after securing the scared puppies inside his squad car, the pets were taken to a veterinarian.
The dogs did not suffer any physical injuries, yet their mental health suffered from the traumatic experience. Veterinarians expect the puppies will recover and they will be up for adoption through the Humane Society of Greater Akron.
As for the Steiners, authorities did not press any charges because they willingly relinquished the pets and genuinely had no idea their actions were illegal, let alone abusive.