Grandmother posts bond after transporting children in pet kennels

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A 62-year-old grandmother, Leimome Cheeks, is facing serious child abuse and neglect charges for what she allegedly did in Memphis over the weekend.

WMC Action News 5 investigators checked her criminal history and this is the first time she's been arrested or charged with a crime in Tennessee.

Cheeks avoided answering any questions asked by WMC Action News 5's Brandon Richard outside the courtroom Monday.

"What do you say to people who are calling you a bad grandmother?" he asked.

"No comment," Cheeks said.

During her first court appearance after posting a $100 bond Sunday, Cheeks appeared without a lawyer, facing two counts of child abuse and neglect.

Memphis Police charged Cheeks after a video was posted on Facebook showing Cheeks letting her grandchild out of a dog kennel in the back of her SUV.

According to a Memphis Police report, the video of the child climbing out of the dog kennel was recorded Saturday somewhere in the 3700 block of Elvis Presley Boulevard, the same block as Graceland.

Police say Cheeks admitted to driving from Whitehaven to Collierville with her 7- and 8-year-old grandchildren locked inside 2 dog kennels. She also told officers she drove downtown and that she checked on the children periodically.

Officers noted in their report that the temperature outside that day was 95 degrees. The children told investigators Cheeks had them get in the kennels because there wasn't any room in the SUV.

"She walked out of there like it was normal and it's really sad to think that the child would think that type of treatment would be normal," Psychologist Dr. Angel Gooden said.

Dr. Angel Gooden is a psychologist with Youth Villages where she works with troubled youth and their families. She says an experience like this can have a long-term effect on a child.

"I think it could have a very significant impact on their self esteem and self confidence and thinking that it's OK to be treated as something other than human," Dr. Gooden said.

Memphis police tell us those two grandchildren and in the custody of their mother. Cheeks is scheduled to appear again in court July 9th.

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