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A law most expected would be from California, but surprisingly (or not), comes from the other sunshine state. But it’s not sunny news for pet owners, especially those who enjoy bringing their dogs along for car rides. That’s because a law is proposed there banning dogs from sticking their heads out car windows. Sounding like something you’d read in the Onion, Florida looks like it’s serious about distracting dog heads fouling everyone’s drive. 

Why is Florida trying to stop dogs sticking heads out car windows?

Dog in car
Dogs in cars | Getty

Well-meaning legislators are acting on animal welfare concerns, which also include prohibiting cosmetic animal testing and declawing cats. We get those two concerns, but dogs in cars? Senator Lauren Book sponsors the Senate Bill 932 proposal. 

It cites welfare concerns like “manufacturing, importing for profit, selling, or offering for sale in this state a cosmetic developed or manufactured using cosmetic animal testing conducted or contracted by certain persons or from conducting or contracting for cosmetic animal testing.” Stopping cat declawing is in there too. But the legislation goes further.

Can dogs get injured looking out of car windows?

dog goggles
Dog protection when sticking their heads out of cars | Getty

It proposes the Department of Law Enforcement website list all persons convicted of abuse offenses. Then it drills down on dogs in cars. It starts with forbidding dog owners “from taking specified actions relating to the transportation of dogs on public roadways.” 

Also included is forbidding “a dog to extend its head or any other body part outside a motor vehicle window while the person is operating the motor vehicle on a public roadway.” The reason, of course, is the possibility that the dog may fall or jump out of the window. There is also concern about insects, rocks, dust, etc., getting into a dog’s eyes. 

There must be a better solution

dog goggles
Dog goggles in sidecar | Getty

It also seeks to prohibit drivers from having a pet on their laps, or in front of motorcycle riders. The bill suggests that dogs be restrained in cages with a harness and/or pet seat belt. It would allow a passenger to tend to the dog when traveling, however. 

Falling or jumping out of a car window is easily cured with the window is not rolled completely rolled down. Having it at the dog’s neck or chest bone allows them to enjoy the breeze without fear they’ll fall out. 

As for debris scratching or puncturing doggy eyes, several companies make goggles for this very reason. They’re relatively inexpensive, and give dogs a rather cool look. So in both cases, there are ways to mitigate the concerns in the bill related to dog heads and cars while on an epic road trip

Do dogs really pose a distraction for drivers?

dog goggles
Happy dog in goggles | Getty

If dogs are jumping around in the car it can create driver distraction. In most states, police don’t take kindly to that. Dogs can also cause blind spots for drivers, too. But generally, everyone looks forward when driving, which reduces the chance the dog is obstructing something out of the windshield. 

So protecting animals from testing and declawing is in their best interests. But any observant owner with common sense can look to the obvious to protect their animals from eye injuries and falling out of cars. According to Newsweek, if passed the bill will become law on July 1, 2023.


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