Though dogs love to stick their heads out of car windows to feel the wind in their fur, proponents of a new bill in Florida say letting your dog do this is so dangerous it should be illegal. In addition to making it illegal to let your dog hang their head out of a car window, the bill also includes a push to fine those who declaw cats without a medical reason and limit animal testing for cosmetics.
Filed by state Senator Lauren Book (D-Broward) on February 17, 2023, Senate Bill 932 focuses on animal welfare but seeks to restrict how dog parents ride with their furry ones. Some animal lovers are on board with the bill, while others say this oversteps bounds.
Senate Bill 932 Details for Dogs
Senator Book’s proposed bill states that a driver should not “allow a dog to extend its head or any other body part outside a motor vehicle window while the person is operating the motor vehicle on a public roadway.”
Additionally, transporting a dog “on the running board, fender, hood, or roof of a motor vehicle, in the trunk of a motor vehicle, or in an enclosed motor vehicle space intended for cargo” would also be against the law.
But that’s not where it ends. SB 932 lists restrictions on how dogs should ride in cars and seeks to ban dogs from sitting in a driver’s lap. Instead, the bill suggests that dogs should be “secured in a crate that is an appropriate size for the dog; restrained safely with a harness or pet seat belt, other than a neck restraint, designed for use in a motor vehicle; or under the physical control of a person other than the operator of the motor vehicle.”
Dogs who ride in the bed of their parents’ pickup trucks would also see changes as the bill includes language that states dogs “must be restrained by the use of a dog crate.”
Those who violate these proposed restrictions would face moving violation citations.
SB 932 Tackles Declawing of Cats & Animal Testing Too
SB 932 also aims to make declawing cats illegal if the procedure isn’t performed for medical necessity. Each declawing breach would see an owner fined $1,000. As for veterinarians who perform declawing unnecessarily, the bill states, “A veterinarian who performs a prohibited declawing is subject to disciplinary action.”
In a section titled the “Humane Cosmetics Act,” the text would see the banning of cosmetic testing on animals with “any article intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on.” Institutions that violate would face heavy fines.
The bill also addresses animal abuse and would see the creation of a registry for those convicted of animal abuse.
Reactions from Animal Lovers
The aim of SB Bill 932 is protecting animals, and animal advocates are thrilled, with Trevor Chin of Florida Voices for Animals telling Fox 13 in Tampa, “We are all for making sure that good legislation is passed for companion animals to stay safe and also to prevent any inhumane acts.”
But it’s not just about animal protection when it comes to allowing dogs to hang their head out a car window or how dogs ride in vehicles. Bill proponents also say it’s about preventing distracted driving with pets in the car.
“Having a companion animal in your lap or with their head out the window, now you’re having to focus on that, you know, what’s happening in front of you as opposed to paying attention to your actual surroundings and being the safest driver that you possibly can be,” explained Brittany Livingston, also of Florida Voices for Animals.
And while dog parents understand the bill aims to protect dogs and how they ride in cars, they’re still concerned as the proposed law takes away their right to choose what’s good for their dog.
“I think my dog would be a little bit more upset about that, honestly. And a citation, I think that’s a little much, but I mean, I get the idea of it for safety purposes, but I mean, I feel like that should be up to the pet owner’s discretion,” said dog mom Gaby Graxirena.
Senate Bill 932 addresses many animal welfare topics and, if passed, would take effect on October 1. Read Senate Bill 932 in full here.