Heads Up: New England Police Can Write You Certain Tickets Because of Your Dog in the Car
If you're like me, you take your four-legged, furry best friend almost everywhere you go. Our dogs spend lots of time with us in our cars, especially here in New England, where we're crossing state lines all of the time.
I was surprised to learn that each New England state is both different and similar in its laws affecting how we drive with our four-legged furry besties. According to News Orvis and Pet's That Travel, here's where each New England state lands when it comes to distracted driving, proper restraining, convertibles, and pet cruelty laws.
Right now, unrestrained pet laws only apply to the bed of a truck, according to the News Orvis article, which outlines the actual law. In this case, your dog must be properly and safely restrained when he or she is traveling outside your vehicle.
And of course, there are anti-cruelty laws for animals that law enforcement can look at on a case-by-case basis when it comes to the safety of your pet, according to News Orvis.
News Orvis says distracted driving laws kick in here when it comes to your pet roaming freely in your vehicle. These laws indicate that anything that could distract or impede your driving opens you up to fines.
Dogs on your lap or in the front seat unrestrained, jumping around in the backseat, or hanging out of windows could be an issue. Police can fine you, according to the News Orvis article.
Meanwhile, the article also says that pets riding outside of the vehicle in the bed of a truck, for instance, must be in a crate or cage that is properly secured to the truck.
Additionally, if the police feel that your dog is being treated or traveling in a cruel and inhumane way, you can face fines if they appear in danger, according to the News Orvis. This includes convertibles, as your pet could easily jump out if they aren't in a seatbelt.
Just like in Massachusetts, if your pup isn't restrained inside your vehicle while you're driving, law enforcement officials technically can fine you with current distracted driving laws, and that includes any pups riding on your lap, News Orvis says.
Also, if you drive a convertible, News Orvis cites a law that says your dog must be in a pet seatbelt. If your doggie rides in the bed of a pickup truck, it must be in a crate or cage that is properly secured to the truck.
All dogs must be in a crate or restrained with a harness or dog seat belt designed for use in a vehicle, according to News Orvis, but that's it on the books for now.
Current cruelty to animals statutes makes it illegal to transport or confine an animal in a cruel manner, which is at the discretion of the officer, according to News Orvis.
Connecticut doesn't have a specific law requiring dogs to be restrained or secured while riding inside a vehicle, according to News Orvis. However, you can be charged with distracted driving. Additionally, dogs in an open truck bed must be in a crate, cage, or secure to prevent them from falling, jumping, or being thrown from the vehicle.
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Gallery Credit: Riley