‘Click It or Ticket’ Now for N.J. Pets Too

Cops in New Jersey are cracking down on unrestrained pets in cars, and the fines can have quite the bite. (AP Photo)

The sight of a pooch happily taking a joy ride with its head hanging out of a car window might be a common one, but in New Jersey drivers can now expect a pretty hefty fine for letting pets roam free in the car.

That’s right – “Click It or Ticket” now applies to four-legged passengers in the Garden State, with fines ranging from $250 to $1,000 and jail sentences as long as six months.

Col. Frank Rizzo, police superintendent for the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, called attention to the law during a public address last week.

“Some people tell us they like to let their pets hang their heads out the window to take in the fresh air,” Rizzo told NorthJersey.com, “but dogs and cats become projectiles in a crash.”

Rizzo also noted that the fine is for each unrestrained pet in the car – making the violation a potentially much more expensive one than that for human passengers. The fine for a person not wearing a seat belt is just $46, according to NorthJersey.com.

The reason for the hefty fines? A New Jersey law considers ridding around with an unrestrained pet animal cruelty.

When drivers take their pets on the road, the ASPCA recommends “dog seat belts, crates and car barriers” as safe options.

New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission’s Ray Martinez told CBS Philly that beyond looking out for pets, the measure also takes aim at distracted driving.

“People actually driving with a dog or a cat on their laps. It’s not cute. It’s actually dangerous for the driver. It’s dangerous for other drivers and it’s dangerous for that pet,” Martinez told CBS.

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