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Dogs in Pickups: Do's and Dont's

If you take your dog for a ride in the back of your pickup - you could be breaking the law. Action news now reporter Stephanie Lin breaks down the rules of the road for you.

Posted: Oct 22, 2018 6:42 PM
Updated: Oct 23, 2018 10:47 AM

CHICO, Calif - It's a common sight in our area: Dogs in the back of pickup trucks.

But that joyride with your best friend could cost you and your dog. 

Chico Animal Services tells Action News Now that they have seen multiple cases of dogs falling out the back of pickup trucks. It turns out, those drivers may have violated a vehicle code. 

"Dogs are required to be secured in a manner that would prevent them from jumping," said CHP Public Information Officer Logan Callahan.

"You can have your animal tethered in the back, or in a dog crate that is fastened to the truck. Or, the sides of the truck have to be 46 inches from the bed of the pickup so the animal can't get out," said Tracy Mohr, animal services manager at Chico Animal Services. 

Because most pickup trucks don't meet the height requirement, CHP says it is essential that animal owners secure their four-legged passengers down to ensure everyone is safe. They recommend cross-tethering your animals, meaning they are tied down at two points, to prevent being thrown from the vehicle. 

"The potential of an animal jumping from a vehicle that was moving could cause a traffic collision and cause serious injury," Callahan said.

"We have seen dogs in car accidents, and they get killed because they are either ejected from the vehicle or they hit the dashboard," Mohr said. 

However, there are exceptions to the rule. 

"Rural roads," Callahan said. "When ranchers or farmers are using those animals in the course of their job for farming or ranching, they are allowed to have dogs in the back of pickup trucks [on rural roads], but that's not something we want to see going down the interstate or state route." 

Chico Animal Services also says that pickup beds can get very hot in warm temperatures, so it is important to remain vigilant of how transported animals are doing. 

The vehicle code applies to all animals, and not just dogs.

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