Doggie seat belts may not always be life savers.
Restraints for traveling dogs in cars have become increasingly popular, and lawmakers in New Jersey are considering a bill mandating them.
But in simulated accidents, the four brands tested didn’t perform well.
“It was just astounding what we saw,” said Lindsey Wolko, who founded the non-profit Center for Pet Safety in 2011 after getting into a car accident while traveling with her dog. The harness failed and her dog Maggie suffered spinal injuries.
The tests applied the same federal motor vehicle safety standards for testing child seats. Using a 55 pound stuffed test dog, Wolko and her team simulated a 30-mile-per-hour collision. You can find video of all four tests here.
In one case the harness allowed too much slack, and the dog crashed into the back of the front seat. In two others, the harnesses snapped, sending the dogs flying through the air. And in a fourth, the harness slid up to the dog’s neck on impact.
“I don’t think that there’s any doubt that those dogs would have been seriously injured, if not fatally injured,” Wolko said.
The manufacturers are not being identified by the center. “Our primary concern is NOT to attack individual manufacturers for selling well-intentioned products. If we share brands at this early stage in our work, we shift the focus away from what is truly needed: measurable, safe standards that manufacturers can follow for the benefit of consumers,” the center says on its website.
Unlike with human restraints, those made for dogs are not tested or regulated by the government and there are no existing safety standards in place.
The American Pet Products Association, in response to Wolko’s findings, released a statement saying, “.. there are an increasing number of reported accidents where a pet distracting the driver is being cited as the cause. A pet restraint that merely limits a pets access and distraction to the driver and limits its motion in the event of an accident is still an improvement over no restraint.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 17th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, assembly, cars, center for pet safety, dog, dogs, harnesses, law, legislature, lindsey wolko, mandatory, new jersey, pets, research, restraints, safety, seat belts, seatbelts, study, travel
Christie termed the proposal ”stupid,” Bloomberg reports.
He also said the proposed law was an example of how Democrats, who control the state Senate and General Assembly, are wasting time with trivial issues when there are bigger ones to be solved.
“This will tell you everything you need to know about how New Jersey runs under the Democrats,” Christie said in his monthly “Ask the Governor” broadcast on Ewing-based WKXW-FM radio. “They’re actually spending their time on this.”
If the bill makes it through the legislature for him to sign into law, Christie said, he wouldn’t put his name “near something that stupid.”
Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer, a Newark Democrat who owns a Pomeranian , introduced the bill to require harnesses for animals not being transported in cages. Violators would be fined $25.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 1st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bill, cars, cats, chris christie, christie, democrat, dogs, governor, grace spencer, harnesses, law, legislature, pets, proposed, republican, restraints, seat belts, signature, stupid, transporting
And the fine for an unrestrained dog — unlike the $46 one for an unbuckled human — can cost you up to $1,000.
Because it’s considered animal cruelty under state law, penalties for transporting your dog without a restraint range from $250 to $1,000 and as much as six months in jail.
“That’s for each offense,” Col. Frank Rizzo, the police superintendent for the New Jersey SPCA, told reporters this week. “So, if you have more than one animal loose in your car, just do the math.”
Rizzo and representatives from the state the Motor Vehicle Commission briefed reporters about the law as New Jersey entered the initial phase of its “Click It or Ticket” campaign, at the outset of which police in 23 Bergen and Passaic county towns issued 359 tickets for back-seat violations — none of them involving dogs.
While some reports are calling the doggie seat belt mandate a new law, the Bergen Record’s Road Warrior column reports that leaving your dog unrestrained in the back seat of your car violates state statute 4:22:18, which is 16 years old.
(An unbuckled adult human in the back seat only became illegal in New Jersey three years ago.)
Rizzo said the high fines will help people become aware of the dangers of dogs traveling in cars unrestrained. “Some people tell us they like to let their pets hang their heads out the window to take in the fresh air, but dogs and cats become projectiles in a crash,” Rizzo said.
“It’s much cheaper to invest about $25 in a restraint system than to deal with the consequences of a crash,” said MVC Chief Administrator Ray Martinez, who used his own golden retriever-poodle mix to show reporters how to harness a dog into a back seat.
Patch.com, in an unscientific online poll, was finding little support for mandating dog restraints, and found few police officers interested in enforcing it.
“Seriously, the best part of my day is hitting the road with my dog sitting right beside me in my truck.” said one veteran officer said who asked not to be identified.
Another thought the law was intrusive, and its penalties too severe.
We welcome your thoughts on this topic (and everything else, too, of course), and we’ll share our own, bearing in mind I only started wearing my seat belt about six years ago, when I bought a new car, and only to stop the eternal dinging that resulted when I didn’t put it on.
Ace doesn’t wear a seat belt or restraint. At 130 pounds, he travels loose in the folded down back seat, sometimes with his head resting on the console between the front seats. He does from time to time stick his head out the back window, though I discourage it on Interstate highways.
Having recently completed a year-long, 27,000 mile road trip with him, I can’t imagine what that would have been like for him if he had been strapped down the whole time.
Our trip was all about being free and liberated — for a year at least — and while I’m probably over-protective of him in most ways, this is a step that, while it’s becoming more and more politically correct, I don’t see taking.
Until authorities show up at my door, or pull me over in New Jersey, Ace rides free.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, buckle up, click it or ticket, crackdown, dog seat belts, dogs, enforcement, humans, law, new jersey, pets, restraints, safety, seat belts, spca, travel, travels with ace
Ohio Gov. John Kasich yesterday signed a bill that repeals the 25-year-old state law that automatically declared pit bulls vicious.
Once the new law takes effect, in 90 days, shelters will be able to allow them to be adopted, owners will no longer be required to buy additional liability insurance and pit bulls will be free of the restrictions imposed when the state declared them, based on their looks, a public enemy.
House Bill 14 was overwhelmingly approved 67-30 by the state House on Feb. 8.
In addition to dropping any reference to specific breeds, the new law redefines what makes a dog “vicious.”
The old law defined a vicious dog as one that, without provocation, has seriously injured a person, killed another dog, or belongs to the general breed of pit bull.
Dogs so labeled required additional liability insurance, restraints and were subject to other restrictions.
The new law revises the definitions for vicious, as well as the categories of “dangerous” or “nuisance” dogs. It also requires a dog warden to provide proof of why a dog deserves such a classification, and creates a process for dog owners to appeal law enforcement’s labeling of their dogs.
“A well-meaning but poorly conceived law is no more, and it represents a victory for Ohio dogs and their people,” said Gregory Castle, chief executive officer of Best Friends Animal Society, a Utah-based organization that opposes laws that discriminate against certain breeds of dog.
“It ends the practice of causing undue hardship to thousands of responsible owners of entirely friendly, properly supervised, well-socialized pets,” he added.
Best Friends said it hopes that the Florida’s legislature follows suit, and votes to change a similarly archaic law in Miami-Dade County, the only county in Florida where pit bulls are banned.
“The change in Ohio law truly signals a new day for dogs that for years have been discriminated against just because of their looks — the same type of discrimination that’s been going on in Miami-Dade County for years,” said Ledy VanKavage, senior legislative attorney for Best Friends.
Legislation that would repeal the Miami pit bull ban is under consideration in Florida, and recently passed through two more committees.
Florida outlawed canine profiling in 1990, but Miami-Dade County’s 1989 pit bull ban was grandfathered in. Hundreds of dogs and puppies are seized and killed in Miami-Dade every year because of their appearance, Best Friends says.
Ohio was the only state in the country to declare a type of dog vicious, based solely on appearance with no consideration of behavior.
(Photo: A smiling pit bull, from the website Three Little Pitties)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 22nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, automatic, bans, best friends, breed, breed based, breed-specific, breeds, dade county, dangerous, definition, discrimination, dog, dogs, governor, inherent, insurance, john kasich, law, legislation, liability, miami, nuisance, ohio, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, profiling, redefine, repeal, restraints, restrictions, signed, vicious
The Humane Society of the United States is offering $2,500 to anyone with information that leads to the abuser’s conviction.
The brown terrier dog was brought to the Humane Society of South Mississippi last Wednesday, May 4, after being found near the intersection of 34th Street and 20th Avenue in Gulfport, according to WLOX.
Photos released by Gulfport Police shows where a child restraint latch was attached to the dog’s legs after being inserted through the skin around the bone. Investigators say the latches appear to be from a child’s car seat.
The male terrier also has scratches and wounds on his face and head, legs and belly.
The dog, who had no microchip or identification, is being cared for at the Humane Society in Gulfport.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Gulfport Police Department Animal Control Division at (228) 868-5959.
(Photos: Gulfport Police Department)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 14th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animals, bones, cruelty to animals, dog, dogs, gulfport, investigation, latches, mississippi, pets, photos, police, restraints, straps, torture