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Click It Or Ticket Goes Canine In New Jersey

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On: Thu, Jun 14, 2012 at 3:51PM | By: Chris Weiss

Click It Or Ticket Goes Canine In New Jersey

The image of a golden retreiver's mangy furr fluttering carelessly in the 55-mph wind on the other side of a car window is nearly as timeless as the automobile itself. Yet, that image will soon be no more in one state. New Jersey has instituted new fines, ranging from $250 to $1,000, for drivers that don't buckle their pets up. Another weird but true law hits the books.

NJ police officers, as well as officers of the NJ Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, can now pull over drivers for traveling with their pets unrestrained and issue fines of up to $1,000. Drivers are also vulnerable to disorderly person charges for animal cruelty.

The law has been on the books as part of the state's animal cruelty laws since the mid-90s, so this looks more like a matter of an enforcement and public awareness campaign than new legislation. The New Jersey Motor Vehicles Commission, together with the NJ SPCA, held a conference at local dog park recently to highlight the new fines.

"During the summer months, we see increased traffic on the state's roads, which means drivers need to be even more vigilant and pay extra close attention to the road,” MVC Chairman Raymond P. Martinez said in a statement. “Anything that can instantly take a driver's eyes and mind off the road is a potentially lethal distraction."

I can almost understand that - some pet's can be finicky and distracting in the car - but animal cruelty? Isn't it more cruel to strap a dog to a hunk of foam for hours on end? You can just picture those big, droopy eyes staring longingly at the oasis of fresh air just beyond the window crack - poor Champ.

According to AutoGuide, this is the first law in the country that requires drivers to restrain their dogs. Other states have laws dealing with things like driving with a dog on your lap, but nothing about restraint.

While the whole thing might sound like another episode of meddling government and wasted tax payer dollars, NJ SPCA Superintendent Col. Rizzo points out a sobering reality: "What people come to realize only too late is that animals act like flying missiles in an impact and can not only hurt themselves but hurt their human family members too."

Still, you'd have to think that there are more pressing concerns to New Jersey's drivers (and dogs).



RoadKill | 4:14PM (Thu, Jun 14, 2012)

That's Nazi Jersey for you....

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