(TRENTON, N.J.) — It may be “Click it or Ticket” for pet owners in New Jersey, as state lawmakers consider a bill that would require drivers to secure pets in seat belts or pay a fine. Penalties could run up to as much as $1,000 in extreme cases of animal cruelty, such as keeping a pet unsecured in the bed of a pickup truck.
The fines would not apply to pets kept in crates.
Other states, such as Hawaii, Connecticut, Illinois and Maine have banned motorists from driving with pets in their laps, but New Jersey is apparently the first state to require that pets be strapped in.
The bill was introduced by Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer, who owns a Pomeranian, five cats and a rabbit, and was endorsed by New Jersey’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Mallory Simon, Tim Hume and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
Grant Olsen, KSL.com
Matt McFarland, CNN