A Florida Democrat backed off a proposed bill that would have banned dogs from sticking their heads out of car windows.
Democratic state senator Lauren Book proposed the bill last week. It would outlaw drivers in the state from letting their dogs stick their heads out of the window of their vehicles, among other positions, while driving. But after backlash from the public, Book said that she would scrap the provision from her bill.
The bill states that a person may not “[a]llow 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.”
The provision was written in the name of safety, but dogs actually enjoy sticking their heads out of the window. According to the website barkavenuedaycamp.com, dogs do it because the wind carries a vast array of smells into their nose all at once. On top of that, dogs have a wider scope of vision than humans; even though they are more near-sighted, they are better at seeing moving objects, and can more clearly see the objects and the landscape as they pass by. Together, the sights, smells, and sounds create a sensory overload that is enjoyable to them.
But the delightful sight and smell smorgasbord is not without risks. “Although most dogs love to stick their heads out open windows, the wind can seriously irritate mucous membranes and blow pieces of grit or other debris into their eyes,” the Humane Society told Fox News. “Pets could also be seriously injured by objects as you drive down the road.”
But Book barked up the wrong tree, and found herself in the doghouse with her constituents. She was forced to walk the provision back. “Our family has three dogs—two of which are almost 175 pounds each and love sticking their heads out the window—so I welcome and appreciate all public comment on this issue, which is only one piece of a complete proposed overhaul of the state’s animal welfare system as brought to me by veterinarians and advocates,” Book said in a statement, via WFLA. “We can easily amend this piece out of the bill while protecting the intent of the animal welfare community and vets who proposed the policy because of unintended injuries they’ve treated — and we will. In the meantime, let’s all invest in a good pair of ‘doggles’ to keep our furry friends safe.”
Besides prohibiting dogs from sticking their heads out of windows, the bill also bans drivers from:
- holding dogs in their laps or allowing a dog “to be in such a position as to interfere with the person’s control over the driving mechanism of a motor vehicle while the person is operating the motor vehicle on a public roadway”;
- letting their dogs ride in front of them on motorcycles;
- transporting dogs on the side or the top, in the trunk, or in a closed cargo space of a motor vehicle, or;
- transporting a dog on a trailer being towed by a motor vehicle
Violators can be charged with a moving violation.