Legislators want motorists to secure dogs in pickup beds

The state Senate had some fun Wednesday before giving final legislative passage to a bill prohibiting dogs from riding loose in the beds of pickups on interstate highways.

State Sen. Bret Allain, R-Jeanerette, got impassioned about House Bill 1091. He said one of his favorite memories is looking in his truck’s rearview mirror and seeing his dog’s ears flap in the wind.

“I cannot go back home to my district and tell my people that you can no longer ride your dog in the back of the pickup truck. This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” Allain said.

Dogs still could ride in pickup beds. They just would have to be secured, eliminating the possibility of them jumping out. Similar legislation died last year.

State Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, said the bill just applies to dogs traveling interstate highways. He said country dogs still could ride loose.

State Sen. Bob Kostelka, R-Monroe, said country roads eventually lead to interstates. He questioned whether legislators should also restrict dogs from riding in compact cars that could be squashed by 18-wheelers.

Handling the bill in the Senate after opposing it last year, state Sen. Mike Walsworth asked legislators to forget about the dogs and the rednecks. Walsworth, R-West Monroe, said the focus should be on the family traveling behind a loose dog in a pickup bed.

“Just think about a family of four - wife, three kids in a truck, car, van going down the interestate. (They’re) going about 70 and all of a sudden right in front of them ... there’s a dog that jumps out. What are they going to do? We know what they’re going to do. They’re going to try and miss the dog,” Walsworth said.

The Senate voted 30-7 in favor of the bill, sending it to Gov. Bobby Jindal.

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