The daughter and granddaughter of black nationalist Malcolm X have been charged with stealing a rental truck and carrying pit bull terriers in inhumane conditions.

Malikah Saban Shabazz, 51, of Berlin, New Hampshire, and her daughter Bettih Bahiyah Shabazz, 19, of Stark, New Hampshire, were arrested in a parking lot in La Plata, Maryland, on Wednesday 25 January.

The U-haul truck they were arrested in was reported stolen by Vermont state police earlier that day said Janelle Love, spokeswoman for the Charles County Sheriff's Office. And when officers looked in the back of the vehicle they saw seven dogs, some with injuries, housed in stacked crates.

Police on Friday, 27 January, described the conditions as inhumane, according to a report by entertainment website TMZ.

Both women have now been charged with unlawfully taking a motor vehicle and theft in excess of $10,000 (£8,000). If convicted the pair could be handed a prison sentence, up to 20 years, and $20,000 (£16,000) in fines.

In addition to the above charges, Malikah Saban Shabazz is also charged with seven misdemeanour counts of animal abuse or neglect. Each count could be punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 (£800) fine.

The pair were released after posting a bond of $2,000 (£1,600) each, according to online court records. The dogs have now been taken to an animal shelter.

malcolm x
American political activist and radical civil rights leader Malcolm X in 1964 Getty

Malcolm X had six daughters, with Malikah Saban Shabazz being the youngest. She was born seven months after her father was assassinated in February 1965. In 2011, she pleaded guilty to stealing the identity of a 70-year-old woman and running up a bill of $55,000 (£43,000).

Malcolm X born, Malcolm Little, was gunned down at the Organisation of Afro-America Unity in Manhattan's Audubon Ballroom in 1965. Also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz he was an African-American Muslim minister and a campaigner for the rights of black people in the US.

Criticised for preaching racism and violence the Nebraska-born cleric was a member of the Nation of Islam before he denounced the group and its leader Elijah Muhammad in 1964. He was later shot dead in February 1965. Three men were convicted of his murder, however, two of them, members of the Nation of Islam, have maintained their innocence and doubts have been cast on their verdicts.