February 18, 2017. On Wednesday 2/15/17, a 4-month-old boxer pup named Lola jumped from the back of a truck after being picked up from her spay at our clinic. An urgent plea was posted by the PETS Clinic which was seen by over 35,000 people. Thanks to the resulting social media frenzy, she was safely returned on Friday (2/17/17) with minor injuries.
Though the vast majority of readers understood this was a tragic accident, a few felt moved to throw harsh words and accusations at the PETS Clinic and Lola’s parents. Lola’s parents cared enough to vaccinate, spay and microchip her. That was her reason for being at our clinic the day she went missing. Her mommy made arrangements for Lola to be picked up by her roommate and provided us with that information to make sure Lola would make it home safe and sound. Then, when picking up Lola, the roommate, who appeared to be college-aged, put Lola in the back of their truck unprotected.
Watching the judgments ensue on the Facebook post put up to help find Lola was painful. Here was a girl trying to do her roommate a favor being called ugly names online when the only goal should have been to find the puppy. The owner, who clearly loved Lola, and had made arrangements for her vetting and transportation, was deemed unfit by many of those leaving comments. PETS Clinic was held responsible for releasing the pet to someone who would do such a thing – as if we can tell by looking.
I must admit, though, I am touched by the overwhelming number of people that came to our defense and the owner’s defense, but in every situation, there is an opportunity to learn. If the roommate, who appeared to be quite sweet and intelligent, didn’t know better than to place Lola in the back of her truck, how many others might not as well? A truck bed is not safe for any pet especially those that just had surgery. The fact that Lola survived this ordeal is a miracle. Though I know 35k won’t read this blog, if one person does that didn’t know better, it was worth it.
The American Humane Society estimates that 100,000 dogs are killed each year riding in truck beds, even more are injured. That’s why truck safety for pets is so important. In many states, it is illegal to transport a dog in the bed of a truck or on a flatbed trailer. In Texas, if a person transports or confines an animal in a cruel manner,” that “causes or permits unjustified or unwarranted pain or suffering,” they are breaking the law. Some Texas cities have cracked down with tougher restrictions, in these cities you qualify for a misdemeanor by letting your dog be loose in the back of the truck. Outside of legal ramifications, keeping your pet safe is simply the right thing to do.
- If unsecured, your dog can be hurt during sudden stops, starts, turns, and in hundreds of other unforeseeable ways. More than 100,000 dogs each year are injured or killed due to this type of negligence.
- An open truck bed does not protect your dog from the weather. When it’s hot, a metal truck bed floor can easily be hot enough to burn your dog’s paw pads in the hot Texas sun. A dog left in the bed of a truck without water or shade may suffer a heat stroke before long. When it’s cold, your dog has no way to protect himself from chilly, wet winds, icy conditions, or rain. This can even lead to hypothermia and frostbite.
- Never leash your dogs inside the truck bed. Dogs can be strangled when tossed or bumped over the side of the truck.
- If your dog has to ride in the bed of the truck, put them inside a crate, and secure the crate to the walls of the truck bed so it cannot slide or be tossed from the truck. This will also provide them some relief from weather and wind.
- Remember, even though dogs love to have their heads outside of the windows, injuries can occur from flying debris. Also, their eyes and mucous membranes can become very irritated.
- As a reminder related to truck safety for pets, never leave your pet unattended inside a vehicle. A cracked window is not enough.
- Ideally, your dog will never have to ride in the bed of a truck. If you must transport a dog in the truck bed, the dog should be inside a crate that is secured so that it does not shift during the ride.
- There are many aftermarket solutions for securing your pet inside the cab of your truck or inside your car, find one that works for you and your pet. For peace of mind, you might also look for one that is approved by a pet association you trust. Make sure to check the reviews!
- Cats should be transported in the cab inside carriers that have been secured against bouncing around. Simply securing a seat belt tightly around the carrier can keep the cat from being injured.
- Remember, dogs and cats can be injured by access to the outside of the car. Open windows can expose your pet to flying debris, and they can be made sick by cold air being forced into their lungs.
- If you are traveling a long distance, make plenty of rest stops for your pets. Please remember to make sure they have a collar, an ID tag, and are always kept on a leash.