Wow Florida, way to suck the joy out of a dog’s life. There’s a new legislation being drawn up which could ban dogs sticking their heads out of windows on car rides. Florida State Senator Lauren Book is sponsoring SB 932 which involves animal welfare. In the bill they detail a lot of different measures such as restricting product testing on animals, banning declawing cats, and even creating a public registry of animal abusers similar to what we have for sex offenders.
This all sounds great, but there is one more thing that could put a bee in a lot of dog owner’s bonnets. They’re also working on something about regulating how a dog can travel in cars.
There are multiple layers of this bill. First, you can’t have a dog travel on your lap. Sounds reasonable considering you need to be able to respond to other drivers while operating a vehicle. You don’t want to put the dog in danger of facing an airbag full on.
The second part covers not having a dog on a motorcycle. Dog owners will not be allowed to have their dog in front of them on a motorcycle, however they will be able to carry them in a backpack if they’re small enough.
The third part says that dogs should not stick their heads out of car windows. This part seems as if it will be harder to do in practice but they also have a few more safety rules for dogs in cars that could make it easier. For example dogs must now be properly restrained. There are a few ways that the dogs can be safely restrained such as inside a crate, restrained with a harness or pet seatbelt or physically restrained by someone who’s not the driver.
There has been a lot of backlash with this last part of the bill, and Senator Book wanted to reassure everyone the bill has our pets’ best interest in mind.
“Our family has three dogs—two of which are almost 175 pounds each and love sticking their heads out the window—so I welcome and appreciate all public comment on this issue, which is only one piece of a complete proposed overhaul of the state’s animal welfare system as brought to me by veterinarians and advocates,” Brook told Car and Driver. “We can easily amend this piece out of the bill while protecting the intent of the animal welfare community and vets who proposed the policy because of unintended injuries they’ve treated—and we will. In the meantime, let’s all invest in a good pair of ‘doggles’ to keep our furry friends safe.”