Letting Canines Journey in Pickup Truck Beds Might Turn out to be Unlawful in Utah

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  • American Humane, amazingly, claims that up to 100,000 dogs are killed each year when they drive unhindered in the back of a pickup truck.
  • A new lawmaker in Utah introduced the Dog Movement Act to ensure this potentially dangerous activity becomes illegal.
  • Currently only six states have specific laws against such things.

    The state of Utah is currently considering laws making it illegal to drive your dog in the bed of a pickup truck. One push for the bill is the outrage sparked when the Utah Humane Society video (below) of a dog standing on a truck speeding down the freeway went viral. Unrestrained dogs can get tossed around in bed or fall off while the truck is moving – a problem with a simple fix, but even light weight can be too difficult for people used to practicing. However, if the American Humane Organization’s claim that 100,000 dogs die every year from driving in pickup trucks is not true, then it is a serious problem.

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    Rep. Ashlee Matthews, the only Democrat to win in November in Utah, introduced the Dog Movement Bill (officially HB 386) to state lawmakers. The bill would make it illegal for people to drive faster than 40 mph with unbridled dogs in the back of their truck. There are exceptions for working farm dogs and hunting dogs, or when the sides of the bed are at least 46 inches. The first violation by a driver would result in a violation and all subsequent violations would be felony. Rep. Matthews did not respond to Car and Driver’s request for comment.

    Deann Shepherd of the Humane Society of Utah told local news channel WITN last year that the group would support a law similar to that introduced by Rep. Matthews. The Utah state legislature ends on March 5th.

    “That bill is long overdue,” Rachel Heatley, advocacy director of the Utah Humane Society, said in a statement. “This legislation is a simple and effective way to reduce the distraction on Utah’s high-speed roads and save countless lives of people and animals.”

    Laws of other states

    Only six other states have laws banning unrestrained dogs from driving uninhibited dogs in truck beds, according to outdoor retailer Orvis: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Some states also prohibit drivers from having dogs on their laps while driving, and some states require dogs to sit in the backseat of cars. Orvis notes that there are 16 states where the laws governing the transport of dogs are not clear enough that it is likely a law enforcement officer to decide whether the way the dog is carried is dangerous or against breaking the law.

    The American Humane Society says pets should always travel in the cabin, never in a truck bed. In fact, it’s the first security rule listed on the group’s website. She points out that not only falling or jumping out of bed can injure the animal. There is no protection from the weather in bed, so at least use a secured crate if you have to carry your dog and there is no room in the cabin.

    Dogs falling out of truck beds can also be dangerous to other drivers, but just hanging your dog on the truck is not a good idea, the group said because “many dogs were strangled when they were over the side of the truck Trucks were thrown and pushed and left dangling helplessly. “

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