Is It Legal to Drive with a Dog in Your Lap in South Dakota?
I just did it on Sunday morning, so I really hope it's legal in South Dakota.
What am I referring to? I let my dog ride in my lap while I was driving.
My wife was out of town over the weekend camping with family, and I needed to stay home due to work. So we decided to board our dog, who transforms into the Antichrist if left home alone for long periods of time.
On Sunday morning, I needed to pick her up from the kennel, and she rode home while sitting on my lap the entire way without some form of dog seatbelt restraint.
After I got home, I wondered if that little canine maneuver was actually legal within the state of South Dakota. Come to find out, South Dakota is an extremely-friendly state as it pertains to dogs riding in vehicles. They can practically drive the car!
According to the website Pawsafe, there are virtually zero laws that pertain to the transportation of dogs in motor vehicles in South Dakota.
It makes sense when you think about it. How many times have you seen a dog with its head hanging out the window of a car while driving around in Sioux Falls? I see that all the time. Or, I will do you one better, how many times have you spotted Spot riding in the bed of a pickup truck unrestrained? That drives my wife absolutely bonkers when she sees a dog allowed to roam free in the back of a truck while it speeds down a busy street or highway.
I would be in the proverbial doghouse if my wife found out about my little doggie transportation stunt on Sunday morning. My wife is a safety Nazi when it comes to transporting our two dogs. She has more belts and harnesses strapped on them in the car than astronauts do while lifting off in the space shuttle.
She even makes our two dogs where Doggles while they ride in her convertible with the top down. Is that not nuttier than squirrel turds?
The gang at Pawsafe says more and more states are beginning to enact legislation that pertains to driving with a loose dog in the car. So it might very well become illegal in a state like South Dakota sometime soon.
Here's something else I found to be interesting, according, to Pawsafe, when surveyed, a group of dog owners reported that only 16% of them actually used some form of restraint for their dog while it was riding in the car.
Here's another sobering fact to gnaw on, Pawsafe reports that recent studies have shown that a loose 60-pound dog can turn into a 2700-pound missile in a car crash where the vehicle was traveling at just 35-mph. Think about what kind of a deadly hazard that instantly becomes for both people in the car and your canine companion.
Upon further review, maybe my wife is on to something with all these various pet seatbelts, harnesses, and doggles. Hell, while we're at it, let's buy some crash helmets for them too!
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