Should Your Dog Be Allowed to Ride Unrestrained?

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If NJ Bill Number 3221 passes, your dog will no long be allowed to feel the wind in his face. (Photo – Lew Robertson/Getty Images)

If Bill Number 3221, sponsored by Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer (D),  passes in the New Jersey legislature, owners could be charged with animal cruelty if their dog rides in the car unrestrained. Assemblywoman Spence contends that failure to harness your pet in a car could result in a $20 ticket and a civil penalty up to $1,000.

Opponents of the bill state that politicians have no place in legislating “common sense.” Assemblyman Jay Webber (R) doesn’t believe that failure to restrain an animal is grounds for an animal cruelty charge.

“It would prevent citizens from being fined or imprisoned for not putting a belt on their pets in their vehicles,” Tom Weisert, Webber’s chief of staff. “We should be able to reduce distracted driving and prevent animal cruelty without going to the point of forcing people to restrain their animals. It would be better to reasonably enforce existing laws rather than attempting to legislate common sense,” he said.

“This bill would benefit the pets because unfortunately not everyone has common sense,” Spencer said. “Your dog should not be in the back of a pickup truck or hanging out of a front window, especially if the dog weighs less than 20 pounds.”

The New Jersey SPCA encourages drivers to restrain their dogs in the backseat.

What do you think?


13 thoughts on “Should Your Dog Be Allowed to Ride Unrestrained?”

  1. Ridiculous!! So, if you were not buckled up, you could get a seat belt ticket of about $40… but if you don’t buckle in your dog, you would be charged with animal cruelty?! This makes NO sense.

    When my dogs are in the car, they travel in crates – tried the doggie seat belts at first & they hated them. They chewed on the belts & got all twisted around – one even almost choked herself. Some dogs simply freak out at that kind of restraint & I think that stress is much more cruel than simply letting them ride in the car.

    • silence fool,

      why not just put them in the back of your winnebago and lock them in the shower/bathroom? oh yeah.. that’s where you put your wife.

      • IN the car, troll. It’s written right there if you actually try to comprehend what you’re reading. A 6 pound dog. In a crate. With the seat belt securing her travel crate in the backseat.

        I’m all for traveling safely, but stand by the idea that an unrestrained dog rising to the level of animal cruelty is absurd. Especially when a seat belt violation for human occupants of the car is so minor in comparison. The politicians would better serve our furry family members by focusing on consequences and fines for actual abusive practices – like puppy mills.

  2. Toooo many dogs are hurt, maimed or killed by riding in the back of a truck unrestrained. In the back seat with windows slightly rolled down.. OK. As to Steve Jasse comment… lack of regulations is what brought this country and the world economy to the abyss. I suggest you really read your history and know wtf you talk about before blabbering!
    Unless you really want to swap jobs with a chinese slave laborist. Ayn Rand be Fckd!!

  3. I think I am sick of our government making all of our choices for us. While I think restraints are good for people and animals, these seemly small safety laws are taking away our freedom piece by piece.

    • I’m afraid given the *real* inroads into personal freedom taken by the government, such as the the anti-gay marriage laws and trying to take women’s reproductive choices from them, I just don’t have time to get upset about making a stupid person buckle their dog in.

  4. Back in the 1990’s, my brother lost his Basset mix when the dog jumped out of the truck bed and was crushed under the rear wheels. Here in the south, I see far too many dogs running around open truck beds and riding in the front seat with their head out the window. All I can think is “What happens to the dog if there is an accident?” My dogs have “doggie seats belts”/harnesses and stay in the back seat of my car.

    So no, I have no problem with this being mandatory.

  5. This is ridiculous. Whoever puts their dog in the back of a PU is a dumb ass. I have only pickups and the dogs are never loose in the back. Trying to put a seatbelt on a GSD caused mine to try to hang herself in the back seat when I was driving. They are dangerous for some dogs.d Let’s see 35 years with GSDs in the backseat there has been a problem?….well never actually. Train your dog and don’t let them hang out the window. Not hard…windows can be controlled to the right height. Again too much legislation where common sense would be better. You can’t regulate stupid.


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