SALT LAKE CITY (KSTU/CNN) - The Humane Society of Utah is urging people to think twice about where they put their pets after seeing a video of a dog riding unrestrained on the bed of a truck that was traveling down the highway.
A concerned citizen submitted video of a dog trying to balance while unrestrained on the bed of a flatbed truck flying down the highway at more than 70 miles per hour.
“The video just makes your heart stop,” said Deann Shepherd with the Humane Society of Utah. “The first thing you think is ‘Oh my gosh, that poor dog.' Not only is it completely dangerous for the animal but also for the other motorists driving around.”
Despite frustration and disgust over the incident, it’s not illegal in Utah. The only way an owner can face charges is if the animal dies or is injured in an accident while unrestrained. Salt Lake County is one outlier, but the law is largely unenforced.
“We get calls. We get people contacting us. They’ve seen an animal riding in the back of a truck bed, and they’re very concerned All we can do is just say it’s legislation we want to pass,” Shepherd said.
The Humane Society of Utah says tens of thousands of dogs across the U.S. die every year from this exact situation. In extreme instances, dogs that have fallen or jumped out of truck beds have even wound up at their shelter.
“We see animals, unfortunately, that are surrendered to us that have fallen out of the back of truck beds and broken their leg, and then, the owners can’t afford the medical attention for that pet,” Shepherd said. “They can jump off. They can fall off. Even if they’re tied up by a leash, either being dragged or choked by that leash is just as terrifying.”
When transporting a dog, Shepherd says it’s best to secure them in the cab. If that’s not an option, the dog should be placed in a crate that can be secured in the bed of the truck.
“So many families consider pets members of their family. We realized how dangerous that was for children. It’s the same case for your pets,” she said.