Opinion

EDITOR'S COLUMN: Legislature must protect our dogs

I was driving my truck down the island the other day with the dog curled up on the seat between me and the passenger, when it dawned on me. How come the dog doesn’t have to wear a seat belt?

We were proceeding at low speed on a quiet, country road, but both the passenger and I were buckled up as the law says we must be. But the dog was totally unprotected, lying there in a semi-snooze, unaware that his life was in imminent danger.

Suppose I decided to brake hard for a chipmunk, rabbit, deer or tourist? Chances are I wouldn’t, particularly for the latter, but if some reflex overcame my good judgement, the tourist would be spared but the dog would be in trouble. It could be thrown into the gear shift knob, or perhaps right into the radio. The dog would be lost in radioland, and I’d be doomed to spending eternity listening to Snoop Doggy Dog, Who Let the Dogs Out?, and How Much is that Doggie in the Window?

This would not be a tolerable fate for either me or the dog, so my only recourse is to beg the Washington State Legislature to start working on a doggie seat belt law. Many citizens such as myself are incapable of doing the right thing without threat of punishment, so please protect our dogs from ourselves.

This will not be as simple as it may seem. Exactly what type of seat belt would hold a dog safely in place? Dogs don’t even have laps, or if they do they never use them. They’ve got shoulders, but not wide enough to harness. I guess they would need a body belt of some sort, kind of like a wiener wrap. What works for a Shitzu may not work for a Doberman, so variable styles would need to be tested and approved.

A legislative task force should be appointed to come up with the particulars, write a request for proposals, study the ideas, and eventually award the bids. While they’re at it, they might as well throw in a mandatory doggie car insurance amendment, to protect dogs from owners such as myself who carelessly let their dogs ride uninsured. If my dog were injured in a car wreck I couldn’t afford to pay the vet to straighten its bones, so I’d have to change its name to Gimpy or something. I admit that’s an inhumane solution forced by poverty, so If the state would only require me to purchase doggie car insurance, my injured dog could get the treatment he needs to retain his rightful name.

If my dog could talk, I know he’d be calling his state senator and two representatives to demand action on the doggie seat belt and car insurance laws. If my dog could vote, I’m sure they would listen.

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