Pet owners should be aware of laws on transporting and leaving dogs in vehicles. (Black Press Media file photo)

Beware of law when transporting dogs, SPCA says

The sight of drivers transporting dogs in the bed of their trucks is becoming more common on the roads.

But motorists should be aware that they might be breaking the law.

While it’s not illegal to chain or tie a dog in the back of a pick-up truck, there are conditions that to bear in mind, as Shawn Eccles, Senior Manager of Cruelty Investigations with the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA) told Black Press.

“The animal can’t fall or be thrown from the vehicle and must be confined securely; the animal [should be] protected from the elements (wind, snow, rain, sun); the animal must be able to move about freely and have full range of head motion – sit, stand, lie down,” Eccles explained.

These regulations come from the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, the Motor Vehicle Act, and the Transportation Regulations under the Health of Animals Act.

The “required outcomes” of Section 14.2 of the Health of Animals Act specify that “Every animal is transported in a container or conveyance that provides adequate headroom to permit a full range of normal head movement when the animal is in the position that is considered normal and comfortable for the species, breed, class and age of the animal.”

Those conveyance or containers are should be “designed, constructed, equipped, maintained and used for the purpose of animal transport in a manner that prevents suffering, injury or death to the animals being transported or confined within them.”

Pet owners should also know the laws and dangers of leaving their animals in vehicles on hot days.

There are various factors to consider in those situations, such as the temperature, humidity, the animals’ age and breed and if it showing signs of distress.

“Where an animal is found to be in critical distress (immediate veterinary intervention is necessary to prolong the animal’s life) an authorized agent or peace officer may enter the vehicle without a warrant in order to relieve the animal’s distress,” Eccles said.

Animals can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke in just 15 minutes. Beating the heat is extra tough for dogs because they can only cool themselves by panting. On a hot day leaving your window cracked in not sufficient for your dog to stay cool.

If you see an animal in a locked car with widows up on a hot day call the RCMP.


Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
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