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Should dogs be restrained in utes?

Dogs in utes
The Queensland Government is considering making it an offence to allow transporting unrestrained dogs in the back of an open utility, tray of a truck or beside an open window. Photo: Benjamin Bachmann (Flickr, Creative Commons Licence, this dog is restrained).

The Queensland Government is considering making it an offence to transport unrestrained dogs in the back of a ute.

People are invited to have their say on this and other animal welfare issues during public consultation on a review of the Animal Care and Protection Act.

A discussion paper says dogs are frequently transported in open utility/truck trays and trailers and allowed to protrude from open windows.

“Unrestrained dogs in these situations are at an increased risk of serious injury or death,” the paper says.

“They may fall or jump from moving vehicles or may cause an accident if the driver of the vehicle or other road users become distracted.”

People are asked if they agree a specific offence should be introduced.

According to the RSPCA, legislation in most states and territories specifically prohibits people from transporting dogs unrestrained on the back of utes or other open vehicles or trailers.

While no specific offence currently exists in Queensland, it is still illegal to transport an animal in a way that is likely to cause the animal harm, or is otherwise inappropriate for the animal’s welfare.

RSPCA Australia advises people to ensure their dog’s restraint is long enough to allow him to stand and lie down, but not so long that he could jump or fall over the edge of the moving vehicle.

“Use swivels to attach the restraint to both the vehicle and the dog’s collar to prevent the chain from tangling,” the RSPCA says.

“Also remember not to drive with your dog in the tray of the ute if he is going to be exposed to extreme weather conditions.

“Ute trays can get very hot in the sun and dogs can burn their footpads so please take precautions to protect your pet.

“Consider purchasing a safety-belt restraint so that you can drive with your dog in the cabin of your ute where he is safer, especially in the case of an accident.”

It is 20 years since the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 was introduced.

“While the current laws have served us well, they’ve been operating for 20 years without a significant review,” minister Mark Furner said.

“In that time, the community’s expectations for animal welfare has evolved.

“This review will examine all aspects of the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 to ensure that the Act continues to meet changing community expectations and modern animal welfare practices.

“RSPCA Queensland is an important animal welfare partner with the Queensland Government and we will be working closely with them on this review.

“I encourage anyone who has an interest in the care of animals to have a say as part of the review, whether you have pets, produce livestock for a living, or work with animals.”

Other issues canvassed in the discussion paper include:

  • Reporting of animal welfare concerns by veterinary professionals
  • Regulated surgical procedures
  • Docking a dog's tail
  • Possession or use of certain traps or spurs
  • Use of a dog to injure or kill another animal
  • Closely confining a dog
  • Using animals for scientific purposes
  • The powers of inspectors.

People can have their say until Friday, 21 May 2021. Visit here for details.

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