Dogs could forced to buckle up while riding in cars

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Motorists in the US state of Maine could be forced to make their dogs wear a seatbelt when they ride along in the car with them.

Democratic state representative Jim Handy introduced a bill entitled An Act Concerning the Transporting of Dogs in Passenger Vehicles, which outlined requirements that dogs be tethered or harnessed while riding in moving cars.

If the proposed law was successfully passed, it would also make it illegal for a dog to poke its "head outside of the passenger compartment at any time that the motor vehicle is in motion."

Exceptions would be made for working farm dogs that are "engaged in agricultural activities" as well as hunting dogs and on-duty police dogs.

Handy put the bill forward after a constituent came to him with concerns over drivers being distracted. However, it has been met with disapproval from a number of dog owners, and even Handy himself admitted that while he thought it was "worthy of discussion", he didn't know if he supported it or not.

The Times reported that Handy often lets his dog stick its head out the window while riding in the car, with Handy saying "my dog loves doing that".

Handy state representative said the constituent who pitched the idea to him had voiced concerns about the potential damage that could be caused, both to the animal and to bystanders, if an unfastened dog was thrown from the car in the event of an accident.