Target: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
Goal: Reverse decision not to protect dogs riding in the beds of pickup trucks
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has vetoed a bill that would have made it illegal for an unrestrained animal to ride in the back of a pickup truck on interstates and highways. His reason for the decision was that he didn’t feel it was necessary to explicitly state this within the state’s animal welfare legislation. Animals deserve the same protection when riding in a vehicle as humans and this decision needs to be reversed immediately.
“Animal cruelty is explicitly prohibited by current law, and I trust that our citizens can care for their pets without the nanny state intervening to dictate how a dog is secured in the bed of a pickup truck,” Jindal said in response to the bill. Jindal’s statement, however, denies the very reason that animal cruelty laws exist at all, which is that millions of pet owners do not know how to properly care for their pets. These issues must be stated explicitly within legislation, otherwise people will continue to commit cruel acts. Dozens of states have already passed legislation making it illegal to leave an animal in a car for more than a specific amount of time or to tether dogs to trees and other objects. This is because these things happen and how often animals are harmed or die because of them.
The fact of the matter is that animals shouldn’t be transported in the back of a truck at all, even if they are restrained or in a crate. They have absolutely no protection and they deserve just as much protection as the human passengers. Louisiana Representative Tom Willmott sponsored the bill because of safety concerns for both the animals and other motorists. “If a dog falls out of a truck in front of you, it creates an emergency situation,” Willmott said during the hearing. Willmott’s proposal required all dogs riding in the back of a pickup truck on highways or interstates to be in a secure, well-ventilated container that allows the dog to breathe. The dog should also be able to sit, stand, and turn around comfortably.
Not only was the measure backed by the Humane Society of Louisiana, it also passed by significant margin within the Louisiana Legislature. The bill was ultimately vetoed because of outcries from representatives in rural areas where hunters and farmers regularly transport animals in the backs of trucks. Despite Jindal’s position, this does not and should not preclude anyone from the responsibility of properly caring for his or her pet. Please sign the petition below and demand that Governor Jindal reverse his decision and properly protect pets in Louisiana.
Dear Governor Jindal,
You recently vetoed a bill proposed by Representative Tom Willmott, which sought to make it illegal for animals to ride in the back of a pickup truck unsecured. Your reason for vetoing the bill was that you feel it is unnecessary state this specifically within the state’s animal welfare legislation and that we should trust people to know how to properly take care of their pets. If this were the case, there would be no animal welfare laws at all. Dogfighting, tattooing, piercing, leaving pets in cars too long, tethering animals to objects and leaving them, and abuse in general have all been specifically added to animal welfare legislation across the United States because these are things that happen far too often.
It is appalling that this bill was vetoed. It should be illegal for dogs to ride in the backs of pickup trucks, secured or not. They deserve the same protection as any human passenger. Please reverse your decision and protect both dogs and other motorists from harm.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: painter dude via Flickr