If you're planning to drive through New Jersey, it may be time to think about getting your paws on special seat belt harnesses for Fido and Felix. The state legislature is considering a bill that would require pets in moving cars to be crated or secured. Violators face a $25 fine for the first offense, escalating to possible animal cruelty charges and fines as high as $1,000 for subsequent or more egregious violations.
The idea for the bill originated with some New Jersey schoolchildren, a demographic well known for its interest in the safety of puppies and kitties. Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer (D-Newark), who has five cats and a Pomeranian, took up the banner in July after meeting a dog with broken legs from a car accident at her vet.
The bill's prospects don't look good, however. State Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), a frequent animal rights advocate, told nj.com: "I have bigger fish to fry." He then added, "Actually, that's a bad choice of words." Republican Gov. Chris Christie has said he will not sign the bill if it passes, declaring in a September radio interview that he would not put "my name near something that stupid."