Proposed bill would ban dogs from sticking heads outside car windows

A newly filed Florida Senate Bill related to animal welfare could change how you travel with your dog.

SB 932 would ban drivers "from holding a dog in his or her lap" or "allow a dog to extend its head or any other body part outside a motor vehicle window while the person is operating the motor vehicle on a public roadway."

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"I think my dog would be a little bit more upset about that, honestly. And a citation, I think that's a little much, but I mean, I get the idea of it for safety purposes, but I mean, I feel like that should be up to the pet owner’s discretion," Gaby Graxirena said.

The bill would also require a dog being transported in a crate that is an appropriate size, restrained safely with a harness or pet seat belt or held by a passenger. 

Animal advocates said it’s legislation that would help address distracted driving.

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"Having a companion animal in your lap or with their head out the window, now you're having to focus on that, you know, what's happening in front of you as opposed to paying attention to your actual surroundings and being the safest driver that you possibly can be," Brittany Livingston of Florida Voices for Animals said.

The goal of the bill filed by Senator Lauren Book on February 17 is to protect dogs from the outdoor elements and prevent them from escaping.

The legislation would also address declawing of cats, cosmetic animal testing, and prohibiting the sale of rabbits in specified locations and during specified months.

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"We are all for making sure that good legislation is passed for companion animals to stay safe and also to prevent any inhumane acts," Trevor Chin of Florida Voices for Animals said.

In addition to any penalties or fines, the bill would also require the state to create an online registry of people convicted of animal abuse.