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?