Does your dog get all anxious and excited every time you leave your home, whether it is to go to work, school, or just run errands? Most Dogs love traveling in the car with their owners. It is not uncommon to see dogs jumping around the car, most times in the back seat, on an owner’s lap or sticking their heads out of the window. With the increase in traffic and congestion, dogs without restraint in a car is dangerous. A new bill is now proposed in Maine that considers the safety the pets and their owners.

An Act Concerning the Transporting of Dogs in Passenger Vehicles Proposed Bill

A bill that is pending in the Maine Legislature is designed to require dog owners to restrain their dogs in a moving vehicle and ensure they are out of the way of the driver. Representative Jim Handy, D-Lewiston sponsored the new proposed bill, An Act Concerning the Transporting of Dogs in Passenger Vehicles. In a recent interview, the bill was presented at the request of one of his constituents with worries about the safety o0f dogs that are not restrained in moving vehicles. Handy states that he feels it is an issue worthy of discussion, whether he supports it or not. He too has a dog and has heard people that are for and against the proposed bill.

Stipulations of the new dog restraint bill

The current motor vehicle law in Maine only applies to vehicles with open tops like convertibles and pickup trucks. Dogs are banned from traveling in a public area of a vehicle unless restrained from jumping, falling or being thrown.

The new bill will have much stricter requirements for the safety of pets.

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Stipulations state that:

  • A dog would have to be tethered or harnessed in a vehicle.
  • Should not ride in front near the driver.
  • Dogs cannot ride with heads out of the window.
  • Rules do not apply to on-duty law enforcement dogs.

Handy admits that he does not restrain his own dog and it does love to hang its head out of the window, creating some debate with the proposed law.

The Legislature’s transportation committee will be meeting for a public hearing on March 17th. At that time, a decision will be made on whether to pass the bill on to the House. The proposed bill is fully endorsed by the American Veterinary Medical Association.