- Associated Press - Saturday, February 8, 2014

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (AP) - A Mount Pleasant high school student is pushing for a law requiring pickup truck drivers to secure their dogs in the truck bed.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reports (https://bit.ly/1njxHFs) 16-year-old Megan Herlihy went before the Town Council this week to urge passage of the law. The council was reluctant, but the teenager plans to keep trying.

Herlihy said she was prompted by an incident eight years ago when a neighbor’s puppy was thrown from the back of a pickup truck, suffered serious injuries and had to be put down.

Mayor Linda Page said her golden retriever once fell from a pickup and broke a leg. Still, she said she was hesitant to pass an ordinance, saying part of it is an enforcement issue not unlike texting and driving.

Town Council members are hesitating, apparently because some thought the ban should be statewide and not town by town. Others questioned how police would crack down.

Town Attorney David Pagliarini said the town already has general laws against animal cruelty and mistreatment, and Police Chief Carl Ritchie said he could not recall recent incidents of dogs being killed after being ejected from a pickup.

Councilman Elton Carrier said he did not want to over-legislate the issue.

“It seems a leash or tether could cause as much of a problem if the animal were to jump out and get dragged,” he said. “That bothers me as much as him roaming free back there.”

North Charleston passed such an ordinance in 2006 with little fanfare. It says “any animal that is being transported in the bed of a pickup truck shall either be tethered or leashed in such a way that it can not be ejected or jump out of the vehicle or shall be placed in a kennel-type box which shall be secured to the bed of the vehicle.”

Charleston City Council almost passed a similar law two years later, but narrowly voted it down.

Herlihy said she may try to get a similar ordinance passed on the Isle of Palms. She also said she might return to Town Council, partly because she has a longer PowerPoint presentation that she didn’t get to share because she mistakenly thought she had only about two minutes to speak.

“I didn’t know I had longer,” she said. “I would have gone on.”

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Information from: The Post and Courier, https://www.postandcourier.com

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