To the Editor:
I am writing to ask the town councillors and any other lawmakers in the Creston area to seriously consider passing a new bylaw to protect our so loving and faithful dogs from the dangers of riding in the back of pickup trucks without canopies. Our animal companions are forced to hang on for dear life, often choking on a short chain with nothing to shield them from the harsh weather (frying heat or freezing cold), from other animals provoking them by the side of the road or from debris that will fly at them at 80 km/h.
We as a society have already agreed and made it illegal to allow people to ride in the back of pickup trucks even when they are covered because we know that it is very dangerous.
I have seen countless vulnerable dogs in this valley dangling over the side of trucks with their so-called caring masters diving at 80-100 km/h. They have no idea what their dogs are doing or what they are going through. The dogs often look stressed, cold and severely windblown, and are just trying their best to stay on their feet and not bash into the side of the vehicle. Some people even leave the back gates open, thinking their dog is some kind of circus animal who can stay on a small platform as he or she travels at 100 km/h.
I have also personally witnessed a dog fall out of a truck right in front of me because he was so excited to see another dog walking down the road. He proceeded to lean too far over the side of the vehicle and then fall out. Luckily for everyone, he did not fall hard and sort of rolled onto the ground. The truck was only traveling at about 20 km/h at the time and he was not badly injured. But for sure he was at least bruised and the outcome could have been much worse.
Can we not let our cherished members of the family sit with us in our vehicles? I know dogs can be a problem and very dangerous to the driver when they are hyperactive and moving around a lot. What I do before I leave for any trip in the car with my dog is give him a short 20-minute walk first to calm him down. His needs get met and he usually relaxes in the car afterward instead of anxiously awaiting his walk while I am driving.
Of course, one cannot reason with a dog like you can with a child. Their self-control is sometimes difficult to manage. They are animals with instincts who do not understand the danger of jumping in your lap to see out your window while you are trying to drive. If you feel there is no way around your puppy, then it is probably best to leave him at home.
As far as cleanliness is concerned, old sleeping bags and blankets protect the car seats just fine.
The no dogs in the back of pickups bylaw is in place in Whitehorse, Yukon. The SPCA there pays for an ad that appears in the newspaper weekly to inform and remind people to obey this law. I am sure that are many other communities around in Canada with this humane treatment of animals. Doggies give us so much unconditional love and forgive us for all the unfair things we do to them. They help us by being our companions when we are lonely and they warn and protect us and our homes from so many dangers, such as fires, thieves, mice and bears. Should we not show them love and pay them the respect they deserve by keeping them safe?