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Monday, July 25, 2011

Should Seat Belts for Pets Be Required?

There are few more joyful sights in the world than a big old dog sticking its head out a car window with a goofy grin, its tongue hanging out and its ears flapping in the breeze. Up until about 15 years ago, that was me in the driver's seat and a golden retriever named Gusty riding behind.

A survey released last week brought that image to mind. It showed that dog owners, a group to which I once belonged, by and large do as I once did: They let the animal ride without restraint. After all, who would put a seat belt on a dog?

    Well, if you listen to the sponsors of the poll, all dog owners should. The survey was financed by AAA and by Kurgo, a company that has a financial interest in selling dog safety products. That's reason to be wary of a study but not to ignore it entirely.

    The survey shows that during the past year, 56 percent of dog owners have driven with their pets at least once a month. But only 16 percent used a pet restraint device — a safety measure advocated by AAA.


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