Pet Seat Belts

One state might outlaw dog's riding shotgun

Outdoor Life Online Editor

You know the image. An old pick-up inching down a rural route, the driver has one hand on the wheel and ain't moving faster for anybody. In his passenger seat sits a hound or lab or retriever with its head fully extended out the open window. There's no question the dog is in a state of bliss, absorbing every scent a country road has to offer, from road kill to honey suckles.

If a bill passes in Pennsylvania, one element of that image will be lost, the dog. Upon passage, the law would make it a misdemeanor to drive a car with an unrestrained animal along for the ride. Luckily, this legislation is a long shot.

The current wording calls for pets to be secured in a crate, strapped into a pet seat belt or separated from the front seat by a gate.

The bill originated in an odd place, on the desk of a fifth-grader. The student won a contest entitled "There Ought to be a Law." A local representative latched onto the idea, although it's expected to go nowhere this year.