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March 15, 2004 - Santa Fe Considers Doggie Seat Belt Law

Santa Fe is considering requiring doggie seat belts. A major rewrite of the city's animal control ordinance proposes that Santa Fe dogs be buckled up when riding in trucks and other vehicles.

The ordinance endorsed Tuesday by a City Council committee would require an animal in the bed of a truck to be "crated or restrained ... so it cannot fall or jump from the truck or be strangled." It also would require that any animal "in or on" a vehicle be restrained to keep it from falling out.

Santa Fe pet stores stock devices to restrain animals in vehicles, although managers said they don't sell many.

Shops carry a "pet safety sitter," selling for $13.69 to $21.69, that holds dogs in a vehicle's seat via a strap across their chests; a restraint that has a loop that attaches to a seat belt; and "pickup tie-outs" that attach to a dog's collar to keep it from jumping out of the bed of a truck.

There's even a little booster seat for dogs so they can see out of the window, complete with an attachment so the dog can't jump around in the car.

The proposed ordinance also addresses restraining animals while walking them on public property. It would require dogs and cats to be on a leash no more than 8 feet long and would no longer consider voice commands as acceptable restraint.

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