- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Lawmakers don’t want loose dogs in truck beds on Louisiana’s interstates.

A 30-7 Senate vote Wednesday gave final passage to a bill requiring dogs riding in the back of trucks to be humanely secured with a leash, crate or a ventilated truck bed cover when on an interstate highway.

Supporters of the measure by Rep. Tom Willmott, R-Kenner, said the requirement will protect both the dogs and drivers who have had to dodge pets that fall out of pickups.

Willmott said he knows of at least four colleagues who have seen dogs fall from truck beds into the road.

Before it passed, the bill provoked loud complaints in the Senate that it strikes at personal freedom.

Franklin Sen. Bret Allain, a Republican, passionately opposed the measure, arguing it would later lead to an outright ban on the rural tradition of transporting a dog in the back of a truck.

“This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” he said.

Allain, who grew up traveling with dogs in the back of pickup trucks, told his fellow senators that a dog with its “ears flapping” in the wind is a happy pup.

“He’s having a good time,” he said.

Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, said it was time for senators to take the proposal seriously after years of stalling. Willmott has brought the measure in past sessions only to see it fail with lawmakers.

“We have fun with this every year,” Adley said.

But he added: “It’s not a pleasant thing to see,” when accidents are caused by dogs falling out of trucks at high speed.

Sen. Mike Walsworth, R-West Monroe, supported the bill, asking lawmakers to imagine their family in a car swerving to miss a falling dog.

“It can happen to any of us,” he said.

Willmott’s bill next heads to Gov. Bobby Jindal for consideration.

___

Online:

House Bill 1091 can be found at www.legis.la.gov

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