Proposed Florida bill would ban dogs from sticking their heads out of car windows

Avani Maharaj, Staff Writer

A proposed bill in the Florida Senate would address animal welfare issues, including banning drivers from allowing their dogs to stick their heads out the window of their vehicle.

The bill, SB 932, was proposed by Sen. Lauren Book (D-Broward) last week and would make it illegal to “allow a dog to extend its head or any other body part outside a motor vehicle window while the person is operating the motor vehicle on a public roadway.”

It would also make it illegal to hold a dog in one’s lap while driving and require any dog being transported to be restrained by a crate, pet harness, seat belt or under the control of a person other than the driver.

Anyone violating these requirements would be subject to a non-criminal traffic infraction, according to the bill.

The suggested bill would also stop the declawing of cats and prohibit drivers from allowing their dogs to ride in the back of pickup trucks.

Any veterinarian who declaws a cat could face fines of up to $5,000 as well as disciplinary action by the Board of Veterinary Medicine. Cat owners who get their felines declawed could be fined up to $1,000 under the bill.

Exceptions to the bill, not including cosmetic or aesthetic purposes, would be allowed if medically necessary.

The bill would also regulate sales of rabbits, prohibiting the sale of rabbits “on public or private roadways—at any flea market, in private parking lots, or at any open-air venue, such as parades, concerts, and festivals.”

During the months of March and April, retail could be prohibited from selling rabbits, with sales possibly being halted until May 1, after Easter.

The bill received a lot of comments from people across the state, and Book said that the section of the bill covering animal welfare broadly could be amended.

“Our family has three dogs – two of which are almost 175 pounds each and love sticking their heads out the window – so I welcome and appreciate all public comment on this issue, which is only one piece of a complete proposed overhaul of the state’s animal welfare system as brought to me by veterinarians and advocates,” Book said, according to WTSP.

“We can easily amend this piece out of the bill while protecting the intent of the animal welfare community and vets who proposed the policy because of unintended injuries they’ve treated — and we will.  In the meantime, let’s all invest in a good pair of “doggles” to keep our furry friends safe,” Book said, referring to goggles for dogs.

The bill was filed last week and would still need to be passed by the Florida Senate and House and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to become law.