Maryland Rejects Banning of Dogs in Pickups

The Maryland Senate has rejected a bill that would have required pet owners to harness or cage their pets when carrying them in the back of open trucks.

Despite the bill passing through the House almost unanimously last year, the Senate voted against the bill by 30-17 against. Maryland therefore continues to be one of the 25 states with no regulations regarding the transport of pets in cars and trucks, although no state currently has the level of regulation that the bill proposed. Anyone violating the new law would have faced a fine of up to $500 but no points against a driver’s license. The bill was introduced by Senator Norman Stone Jr. in the Senate and Delegate Kevin Kelly in the House. Kelly introduced the bill after personal experience of swerving to avoid a dog that leapt from a pick-up truck traveling alongside him.

In California, the law requires anyone carrying an animal in the back of a truck to have side and trail racks, or to tether the animal. Interestingly, however, the law specifically excludes "the transportation of a dog whose owner either owns or is employed by a ranching or farming operation who is traveling on a road in a rural area or who is traveling to and from a livestock auction."

One of the most vocal supporters of the bill was the Humane Society of the United States, who said in a statement, "If your truck hits a bump, or if you step on the brakes suddenly or swerve to avoid an obstacle, your dog can easily be thrown from the truck bed and onto the road. Chances are, this will injure or kill your dog. But even if it doesn’t, being struck by another vehicle probably will. Also, other drivers may cause an accident by swerving to avoid hitting your dog."

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