Buckle Up, Rover

N.J. seat belt laws


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 "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."