Remember the "crime dog" McGruff? the "take a bite out of crime" commercials?
Well McGruff better be sure and wear his seatbelt in New Jersey.
There's been a lot of news lately about how New Jersey has made it the law that all animals riding inside vehicles be restrained.
People are upset. They see this as the nanny state reaching to control Americans.
Some commenters have gone so far as to say this step will keep Governor Chris Christie from ever being a Republican candidate for President.
This is all very strange since the governor had nothing to do with the law that was passed back in 1995.
On May 30 the New Jersey SPCA held an educational event along with the Motor Vehicle Commission. Someone there pointed out that New Jersey has a law restricting the "cruel and inhumane" transportation of animals and that the law could be used to fine drivers who let their dogs roam free inside their cars.
Personally I think you'd be stupid to let your dog free in the car and am reminded of Andrew Burnett and Sarah McBurnett (just a weird coincidence) in California. They had an auto accident and Ms. McBurnett's dog Leo was running free inside the vehicle. I don't know if that contributed to the accident, but Andrew walked over to Sarah's car, and during their "discussion" reached inside, grabbed Leo, and tossed him out into the oncoming traffic where he was killed.
That's not the danger the SPCA is concerned with in New Jersey, but hey, a harness or crate would have saved that dog's life.
So what is the actual situation in New Jersey?
If you travel with an unrestrained animal in your car, you could be issued a summons or warning if the animal is loose in the back of a pickup or on the driver's lap, or with 30% sticking outside the car window.
So buckle up your pup unless you want McGruff from his mother's lap untimely ripped.