Australian state bans drivers from letting pets sit unrestrained in the back of a ute
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Queensland has now banned dogs from riding in the back of a ute unrestrained.
The Sunshine State has become the last Australian region to officially ban unrestrained canines in the back of a moving ute or trailer tray.
The move was part of the Animal Care and Protection Act, which had not been updated since 2001.
Now, if a motorist is caught with a pooch in the back of their ute, they could face a hefty fine of up to $8,625.
To avoid a fine, drivers must place their furry friends in an enclosed cage or tether them to the vehicle.
Incidents involving a dog unrestrained in the back of a moving ute can be reported to the RSPCA.
The RSPCA advised in a statement: “Using swivels to attach the restraint to both the vehicle and the dog’s collar can help prevent the restraint from tangling.
“Also remember not to drive with your dog in the tray of the ute, or another open vehicle or trailer if the dog is going to be exposed to extreme weather conditions.
“In addition, ute trays or other metal surfaces can get very hot in the sun and dogs can burn their footpads so please take precautions to protect your dog.”
The manager of the not-for-profit Young Animal Protection Society Carol Clifton welcomed the news but hopes authorities will enforce the regulation.
"People are still doing it," she told ABC News.
"You can make all the [laws] in the world but unless there is someone there to enforce them — and the big thing is making people aware that this is now the situation — it doesn't do anyone much good."
The amendment comes after the state also passed stricter animal welfare laws regarding pronged collars.
Under the Animal Care and Protection Act, the new law also allows inspectors to intervene when an animal is discovered to be distressed.
Offenders could face up to three years in prison.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said the new offence was one of many changes they were making to improve animal care across the state.
“This follows the first major review of the Act in 20 years and extensive community consultation with over 2300 Queenslanders,” Mr Furner said in a media release.
“Queenslanders want to see animals better protected and people who don’t comply punished appropriately, and that is exactly what these updated laws provide.”