As Nicole Hale spent time with her dog at the off-leash area at Vedder Park on March 26, she watched as a white pickup truck came around a corner with two dogs in the back, one on each wheel well.
Then she was horrified to see one of the dogs fall out of the truck only to be dragged along the pavement.
The bull mastiff had been tied down in the back, but luckily managed to break free of its collar so as to not be severely injured.
But it was all shocking nonetheless.
“All of us in the dog park were screaming at her because she didn’t know it had fallen out,” Hale said.
The police were called as was animal control and the SPCA, but Hale was wholly unsatisfied with the response. A file was created, the RCMP did talk to the woman but because the dog was secured by a leash in the vehicle, it was legal.
The SPCA similarly said there was nothing they could do as the dog had no visible injuries.
“I went over to the dog and checked his paws and said to the lady, ‘You need to take the dog to the vet’” Hale told The Progress. “Instead she took it into the dog park to play.”
Hale said the woman insisted the dog didn’t fall out, but jumped out because it gets excited at the dog park.
Even if that’s so, Hale insisted it was a scary situation, the dog might have had internal injuries, and she thinks people should be alerted to the dangers of animals riding in the back of pickup trucks.
The incident points to an all-too-common practice of some dog owners to let their animals roam freely in the back of pickup trucks.
So what are the rules?
Under Section 72 of the BC Motor Vehicle Act and Section 9.3 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act it is illegal to transport an unsecured pet in the back of a pickup.
“It is against the law and dangerous for a pet,” according to the SPCA’s website dedicated to the subject.
According to the SPCA if you see someone with an unsecured animal in the back of a pickup you should take down the make and model of the vehicle, the licence plate, and a description of the dog and call 911.
ICBC similarly reminds drivers that the safest place to travel is inside the cab of a pickup.
“Dogs riding in the back of pickup trucks are particularly at risk,” according to ICBC. “The safest way to transport your dog or other pet is to keep them inside your vehicle.”
Not only that, ICBC suggests dogs should wear dog harnesses (dog seatbelts).
“Just like people, animals need to be buckled up for safety. Having your pet properly restrained can prevent them from escaping, flying forward in your vehicle, or being hurt in a crash.
“Keeping your pet secured in your vehicle also prevents you from driving while distracted. Driver distraction is a leading cause of car crashes in B.C.”