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Unbuckled Dogs Draw Stiffer Penalty Than People

Say goodbye to the dog days of summer. New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals issues warning to pet owners—restrain your dog in the car or face stiff penalties.

As we turn the bend into summer, say goodbye to your faithful companion hopping into your car, sitting in the passenger seat and hanging his shaggy head out of the window tasting the freedom of the open road. Or, as much of the open road as one canine can get between red lights, stop signs and one-lane only road construction.

Northjersey.com Road Warrior John Cichowski reported last week that Col. Frank Rizzo, police superintendent for the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, issued a warning that any motorist found driving with an unrestrained pet will face a penalty much stiffer than the $46 fine issued to unbuckled drivers and passengers.

Penalties for unrestrained dogs range from $250 to $1,000 and as much as six months in jail.

Rizzo told reporters that the rationale for the enactment of this new law is that in a car accident dogs become projectiles if they are hanging their heads out of the window. 

Patch decided to go straight to the ones charged with the task of enforcing this law and issuing summonses—dog owning police officers. Those who agreed to respond asked not to be identified, but had the same opinion. 

"Seriously," one veteran officer said. "The best part of my day is hitting the road with my dog sitting right beside me in my truck."

Another thought that this was a particularly intrusive law, especially given the severe penalties.

"Does a K-9 have to be restrained?" still another cop questioned. "I can hear it now, 'Wait, we can't sniff out the perp—the K-9's caught in the restraint.'" 

In Overpeck Park's dog run on Saturday, the owner of Daisy, a Great Dane, said he thought this was just a back door way for the state to make money. "Really," he said "$250 to $1000? Why not just say you have to add dogs onto your car insurance policy?"

"Oh wait," he continued. "The state wouldn't get that money."

The owner of Millie, a Jack Russell Terrier said, "Great, so now when I restrain her she'll bark non-stop in the car and I'll get into an accident." 

How do you feel about this new law? Take our poll and let us know.

Tyler D June 06, 2012 at 10:39 AM
More nanny state non-sense in the peoples republic of NJ. The state just has to control every aspect of human behavior when a political group lobbies them. The politicians win favor and political activists get the satisfaction of controlling the irresponsible behavior of others. Where is the personal responsibility? If someone does not take care of their animal, then they suffer the consequences. I realize that the SPCA is trying to protect the defenseless animal that cannot protect itself. Still, they are using the heavy hand of the state to legislate personal responsibility. Voters are their own worst enemy.
Lisa S June 06, 2012 at 12:13 PM
AHHHHHHH.another way to make a buck in this state....next they will start charging us for each time we flush a toilet
jeff goldstein June 06, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Another reason for the rest of the country to laugh at the People's Republic of NJ on Letterman and Leno. NJ is making a strong effort to replace CA and NY as the state with the craziest lawmakers. Why did we not read anything about this when it was first proposed? There was no public discussion at all.

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