Officials say pets need to buckle up

Vehicle safety

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A pet can be yet another potential distraction to a driver. An animal restraint system can help keep a motorist's attention on the road, law enforcement officials and pet owners say.

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Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Tracye Jones puts her dogs Zoe and Sam in restraints so they can’t move around as she drives.

"In addition to texting or listening to loud music, lap dogs or other pets left unrestrained could pose a major distraction that could be deadly," Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said.

Loose animals can interfere with steering wheels and crawl on foot pedals, he said.

Tracye Jones, of Evans, said that to reduce risks, she uses a car seat and seat belt specifically designed as pet restraints for her two small dogs.

"It's as bad as being on a cellphone," she said. "If they jump in my lap and I look down, then I could hit someone."
Buckling up pets protects the animals and the people in a car, Jones said.

"I'm going to slam on my brakes, and they're going to fly into the front seat of the car," she said.

Jones said she wants a law to be put in place mandating the use of pet restraints.

"You have to put a child in a car seat," she said. "You should do the same for your animal."

A few seconds spent buckling her pets into harnesses is a small price to pay for safety, Jones said.

Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins said he frequently sees dogs in the front seat, sitting in a driver's lap.

Dogs, like people, become dangerous projec­tiles when thrust forward by a forceful impact, Collins said.

"People need to have (dogs) secured and in the back seat," he said.

A dog sitting in a driver's lap could have been the cause of a car accident that killed two people in May 2010 in Columbia County, Collins said.

Richmond County sheriff's Maj. Richard Weaver said people should take advantage of pet safety restraints available in stores.

Veterinarian Gary Wilkes, of Westside Animal Hos­pital, said many of his clients exercise caution when transporting pets.

It is important to restrain pets, he said, but it's also important to keep their heads inside windows to protect their eyes.

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copperhead
1035
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copperhead 07/12/11 - 07:06 am
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Law enforcement doesn't have

Law enforcement doesn't have time to enforce laws ALREADY on the books(immigration) yet they want to tell me i must strap in my pet. This is just a little TOO much government. Next,they will be telling us what kind of pet we can or cannot have. They already have in california.

CABoatright
188
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CABoatright 07/13/11 - 06:04 am
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I'm with you
Unpublished

I'm with you Copperhead...leave us & our dogs alone!

Techfan
6462
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Techfan 07/13/11 - 06:11 am
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Ever try to put a goat in a

Ever try to put a goat in a seatbelt?

seenitB4
97371
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seenitB4 07/13/11 - 07:08 am
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Ever try to get a cat to do

Ever try to get a cat to do anything!

TWright987
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TWright987 07/13/11 - 09:05 am
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At some point in our lives,

At some point in our lives, common sense should kick in and give us some direction. Sad that authorities have to reinforce that. We put ourselves into a vehicle, go fast, eat, drink, makeup, pets, text, music, etc... (And cats go in a carrier...duh) What is the problem here?

seenitB4
97371
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seenitB4 07/13/11 - 09:12 am
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My cats are liberals & they

My cats are liberals & they would file a lawsuit against my Republican dogs ...esp. if the Rep.dogs were sitting in fine soft doggy car seats.;)

happychimer
19537
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happychimer 07/13/11 - 11:01 am
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When my pet snake is calm, I

When my pet snake is calm, I put him around my neck when I am driving. If he becomes active, I put him in my purse, and he calms down.

Sentinel
1
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Sentinel 07/14/11 - 07:02 am
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@Techfan, I laughed out loud

@Techfan, I laughed out loud when I read your post! I used to take my pygmy goats to the vet (1 at the time) in the back of my mini-van, and no, there is NO way they would have gone in a restraint or car seat!

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