There are few things more distracting and dangerous on the roads than driving behind a pickup truck with a loose dog in the back.
The situation quickly changes to tragedy when the dog jumps out and is either hung to death by its tether, or hits the pavement where it is run over and killed. In the process, human lives many be lost as vehicles crash to avoid hitting the dog. This is not only reckless driving, it’s reckless governing.
While there are some who believe the government should play little to no role in public safety out of fear of hindering personal freedom, there is much to be said for common sense in this case.
In February, Pasco County Commissioners banned dog tethering in pickup trucks and in yards. This law is not only demonstrates responsible governing, it encourages more humane treatment for dogs, and may even save lives by preventing completely avoidable vehicle accidents involving dogs jumping out of pickup trucks, particularly on highways that are already dangerous enough.
Opponents of a ban on dogs riding loose in the back of pickup trucks might claim that the dog is happy and safe. What they won’t say is that the dog might also be terrified, and would be much happier riding inside the cab, especially when it’s pouring down rain.
If a pickup truck owner will not demonstrate responsible pet ownership by choice, and use a secured crate for dogs riding in the truck bed, then Hernando County needs to catch up to Pasco and make it illegal to endanger the lives of dogs and other motorists.
Some laws really do infringe upon personal freedom, but this would not be one of them.