Buckle Up!

Assembly Bill 2233 is intended to prevent the additional distraction of a wandering pooch while you are driving, putting on make up, and drinking coffee.

AB2233 does have some merit, because pets can be very distracting passengers.  Unfortunately, improperly secured animals become projectiles when they’re riding in a car that becomes involved in an accident.  Having seen the aftermath of many pets in fender benders, I can tell you that it is a sobering sight.  The best bets:  use one of the harness & seat belt gizmos that are designed for dogs to buckle up, or place the pooch in a secured crate, or leave the pet at home.

This isn’t the first time that our best friend has potentially been cited for moving violations.  Nearly twenty years ago, a law was passed making it illegal for a dog to ride in the back of a pick-up truck, unless he is in a securely fastened crate or is cross-tied in the truck’s bed.  A properly cross-tied dog is leashed to the truck in such a way that he cannot reach either side of the vehicle. (There is an exception for farming or ranch dogs that are going to and from ‘work.’)  It has been estimated that over 100,000 dogs die every year (nationally) after jumping out of or accidentally being thrown from a moving truck.  

Though there isn’t a law yet, perhaps there needs to be one about putting a dog in the back of a hot truck.  Since dogs don’t wear shoes, it is important to remember that the metal bed of a truck can get blistering hot—and this may cause serious burns on the bottom of your dog’s feet.  Be a good owner-- place carpeting or something cool in the bed of the truck for your dog’s cute little feet.

Speaking of the heat, last year a bill was passed that makes it a crime to leave a pet unattended in a vehicle in a way that endangers the well-being of the animal.  This ‘endangerment’ may be the heat, cold, lack of water, ventilation, etc.

Dogs and cats are acclimated to live in the same temperatures that we find comfortable—what is your thermostat set on right now?  Locked in a closed car, even a mild outside temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit can become dangerously warm for your pet. Outside temperatures of 85 degrees can become inside-the-car temperatures of over 100 degrees within 10 minutes!  Remember, dogs and cats don’t sweat like us, so they have a very hard time cooling off.  If your pet travels with you, always remember to bring some drinking water. What happens if a quick trip across town becomes delayed by a flat tire?  

This isn’t the last time that we will see legislation targeting our furry friends—pet issues get great news coverage and they usually aren’t very controversial.