Know the rules for carrying dogs in vehicles

Driving with dogs

Just mention the words "truck ride" and our dog becomes your shadow.

Like most dogs, she refuses to be left behind when someone is going for a drive. Being a lap dog, she rides inside and thinks that the right front seat is hers, although she will happily let people sit underneath her.

Larger dogs are often not granted inside status and ride in the back of pickups and other vehicles.

Here is what our Motor Vehicle Act has to say about that:

Transporting animals

172 A person commits an offence if the person transports a living animal on the runningboard, fender, hood or other exterior part of a motor vehicle unless a suitable cage, carrier or guard rail is provided and is attached adequately to protect that animal from falling or being thrown from the vehicle.

If your truck has a cage, carrier or guardrail attached to it that keeps the animal inside, you are good to go, at least as far as this legislation is concerned.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act is more specific:

Transportation of animals

9.3 (1) A person responsible for an animal must not transport the animal by vehicle unless the animal is

(a) inside the passenger compartment, or

(b) confined or secured in a manner that will prevent the animal from

(i) falling from the vehicle,

(ii) being injured during transport, or

(iii) causing a hazard to the safe operation of other vehicles.

(2) A person responsible for an animal must not attach the animal to a vehicle that is in operation unless the animal is confined or secured as described in subsection (1) (b).

(3) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to a person operating a vehicle that is designed for use as a mobility aid for persons with a disability and that is being used for that purpose.

These rules would prevent putting a dog on a flat deck truck secured by a leash for instance. The idea being that the dog would not be able to fall off and be dragged or strangled.

Zooming down the highway in cold temperatures and pouring rain while sitting in the open box of pickup is not likely a preferred activity for dogs. The Health of Animals Regulations require that:

Protection from Inadequate Ventilation and Weather Conditions

146 No person shall load, confine or transport an animal in or unload an animal from a conveyance or container, or cause one to be so loaded, confined, transported or unloaded, if the animal is likely to suffer, sustain an injury or die due to inadequate ventilation or by being exposed to meteorological or environmental conditions.

When you consider taking your dog for a ride in the pickup truck you must consider the animal's welfare and provide for it accordingly.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act sets a general condition for a dog's care:

Duties of persons responsible for animals

9.1 (1) A person responsible for an animal must care for the animal, including protecting the animal from circumstances that are likely to cause the animal to be in distress.

(2) A person responsible for an animal must not cause or permit the animal to be, or to continue to be, in distress.

Incidentally, distress could also mean leaving a dog inside a hot vehicle.

Drivers that fail to provide properly for their animals may be stopped and required to remedy the situation. They may also be subject to charge and could be prohibited from owning an animal as part of the penalty.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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