Should pets have to buckle up in the car?
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
BONITA SPRINGS- Should dogs be required to buckle up or be restrained while riding around in car? A New Jersey lawmaker says yes and wants to make it a requirement for dogs and cats to be restrained in the car.
John Higgins says his dog, Sadie, likes to be off a leash and roaming free, but she's also very well behaved when she needs to be.
"I've had my dog for 7 years and she's well trained. She rides in the car regularly and sits like a passenger. She's just really well behaved," said Higgins.
What do pet owners in Lee County think about being required to buckle up their pets or restrain them while riding in the car like on trips to a dog beach.
"I think that should be an option. The owner should decide. I don't think should be mandatory," said Higgins.
"I think I would buckle mine up if it became regulated," said Elizabeth Ludington, Naples pet owner.
A lawmaker in New Jersey is trying to get a law passed requiring drivers to restrain their pets in the car either with a modified seat belt or safety harness. Violators would be fined $20 dollars and could possibly be charged with animal cruelty.
"You don't need a dog jumping around when trying to drive. It distracts them from operating a vehicle," said Aeriel Harlacher, Fort Myers pet owner.
Veterinarian Doctor Randy Eisel of Animalife Veterinary Center in Naples says a law right here in Florida is always a possibility, but calls the idea unnecessary. He says he rarely sees pets killed or hurt in car crashes.
"I have seen one case where 2 dogs that were in an auto accident both died. My associate has seen one. It was a greyhound that had a neck injury after a car accident," said Dr. Eisel.
Dog owners Fox 4 spoke with say they have never had a problem.
"I have an SUV and he rides there. I have never had an issue he just lays down in the back," said Courtney Morris, pet owner.
States like Hawaii forbids drivers from having a pet in their lap while driving. Other states have used the distracted driver law to fine drivers if dogs or cats become a distraction.