CLEVELAND (WJW) – Some animal activists in Ohio think it’s time for new laws that they believe would benefit dogs and cats, including banning pets from sticking their heads out of the window of a moving car.
A Florida lawmaker proposed similar changes in the Sunshine State earlier this year, but according to an online site, that bill died in committee on May 5. The senator has said in previous other reports she may amend the bill in the future.
However, many in Ohio think changes should be made to help keep animals safe.
“Now we get into the warm weather, and dogs love to travel in the car, they love to have the window open,” said Mark Finneran, Ohio State Director of the Humane Society of the United States. “As pet owners, we need to make sure we are looking out for their safety, if you know your dog likes to stick their head out of the window we encourage you to get one of the many products to help restrain them to make sure they are not going to see a squirrel and jump out the window.”
Lisa Kime, an animal activist and president of GRIN’s Northeast Ohio Chapter, agrees.
“I would personally place them in a crate or buckle them in the back with a dog seatbelt,” Kime said. “First of all, you are exposing them to dirt dust and debris. Their eyes can be damaged, they can be scratched. We also know some people that had issues with their dog. Their dog was hanging out the window and they had to make a quick stop, quick check on the breaks, and the dog was catapulted out of the car.”
She added that not only could the dog get hurt, but so could other animals and people.
Last July in Cleveland Heights, a dog reportedly jumped out of a window of a moving car, attacking another dog and that dog’s owner. The owner was injured.
Other laws proposed in the Florida bill banned driving with a pet on your lap and declawing cats.
Dr. Michelle Gonzalez, of Columbus, says she would advise owners not to declaw felines.
“I think that declawing is not a necessary procedure,” Gonzalez said. “It is a procedure that’s done for the convenience of the owner to keep them from scratching. And scratching is a normal behavior for a cat.”
She noted that declawing cats can increase the risk of arthritis and can cause behavioral issues.
“There are a lot more humane things we can do for cats to prevent them from scratching without having to harm them,” she said.
She suggests trimming the cat’s nails and putting scratching posts around the house.
“We are seeing more and more states take action on this,” Finneran said. “New York and Maryland have banned the act of declawing cats and we are hoping more states including Ohio choose to go that route.”
Former State Senator Ken Yuko says getting such a bill passed would be difficult and could take a long time.
Yuko pointed out that Fox 8’s beloved weatherman and animal activist Dick Goddard worked for years to get Goddard’s law passed. That law increases penalties for anyone convicted of abusing companion animals.
“For those of us who have pets, they are our family, our kids our grandkids, we love them to pieces,” Yuko said. “But if you don’t understand that, you don’t understand the need for strong legislation that will protect dogs, cats, and other pets.”