Reader Question: Buckled-up Dogs?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply! 

Donna asks: There is apparently a new law in my state that animals must be “secured” when transported in a car. I’m assuming this means crated or maybe even buckled up. Do you know whether there is in fact a law that so requires and if so, what are your thoughts about it?

My reply: You didn’t mention which state you live in, so it’s hard for me to say precisely. That said, in my state – Virginia –  the Department of Motor Vehicles says:

“Unrestrained pets are also the cause of many accidents, as they can distract or even interfere with the driver’s ability to control the vehicle. Today’s pet restraints and car seats quickly and easily attach to a vehicle’s seat belt, and provide plenty of freedom for the pet to sit up or lie down. Wire cages or plastic crates are also excellent choices to protect pets while traveling, as they shield pets from falling objects.”

But it’s not legally required. Yet. I expect it to be, eventually – as the government “locks down” every last vestige of our former freedom to manage our lives. I also expect the government to close highways when snow threatens – or even darkness. A subject for another rant.

For now, have a look at what the laws are in your state and then decide, accordingly. Personally, I would never “buckle up” my dog – for the same reason I don’t “buckle up” myself, which is that I refuse to live my life in fear of what might happen in favor of what will happen. By not “buckling up” I might be injured- or injured more severely. But I will be sure to enjoy the drive – and so will my dog!

. . .

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  1. In NJ it has been the law now for several years that animals must be ‘secured’ in cars on penalty of a $1000 (!!!) fine. Given that these things spread from state to state once one state establishes it…it is entirely possible. If it’s as new law, it may not even show yet on the online statutes. I usually say ‘Never ask the fuzz legal questions’, but in this case, a call to state poopers [better than the local PD] should answer the question.


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