New Jersey just passed a law requiring pet owners to “buckle up” their pets when driving around the Garden State. According to officials, this law is to prevent additional distractions to drivers when behind the wheel. Currently, laws are on the books that make operating a mobile device while driving illegal, as well as driving without a seat-belt (actually all persons in a car must be buckled up). The State feels that by having Fluffy the cat roaming around or Buddy the dog hanging out the back window, people loose focus, cause accidents, commit driving infractions and put the safety of their pet in danger. For cats, the State now mandates they be put in carriers and buckled down; for dogs, they are to be put in a harness that clicks right into the seat belt. Fines for not being in compliance? $250-$1,000.
Of course I see the safety benefits to our furry loved ones. Heck , I don’t want anything to happen to our Corgi, EVER! However, I do have to question some things. Why is the fine so large for a pet not being buckled up? The fine for people is approximately $46. And if safety is such a concern for the State, why do buses not have seat belts for commuters? Don’t forget too, the law views pets as property (which is another topic for another day), so where does it end? Do we have to buckle up our suitcases in our back seat? A box from Home Depot? Is the State really that concerned or does “Big Brother” see this as an opportunity to squeeze more money out of NJ residents? I love my dog but I hate “Nanny” states…repeat, hate “Nanny” states. I, like most other adults, love our pets like family and are responsible in treating them as such. To me, that’s just common sense. When mandates are passed though, look out!
As I wrap up here, I think of a slogan that the Garden State has: “New Jersey and you, perfect together!” I like that, I really do. I’m not sure if we need to add a twist on that: “Seat belts and pets, perfect together!”
Just some random thoughts for the day. What do you think?