New Jersey’s state revenues are $100 million short of budget projections. The state has the country’s second-highest mortgage delinquency rate, and its credit rating was just cut by Standard and Poor’s.
Anxious politicians are a consequence of all this fiscal trouble. And when politicians get anxious about money, they get creative and weird.
Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer (who is not, to my knowledge, affiliated with Scientology or L. Ron Hubbard) introduced one of these strange and bizarre bills last week in New Jersey. Ms. Spencer owns a Pomeranian, five cats and a rabbit, and she is downright nervous about pets’ safety in cars.
So Ms. Spencer wants all New Jersey pet-owning residents to buckle up or crate their pets when they’re driving. Under the proposed bill, violators would be subject to a $25 ticket if they’re caught with a seat-jumping dog or cat in their car. If the incident is one of extreme nature, where an owner can be accused of animal cruelty (like leaving a dog in the bed of a pickup truck), the fine could jump to $1,000.
Pet crates (as long as you have a pet that can fit into a crate) are readily available. Harnesses are also available from a company named Kurgo:
That poor, cooped-in Golden Retriever.
What about the cats? Research on our end didn’t dig up with any cat harnesses out there. Even if they are manufactured, who’s trying to get a feline into a harness?
The rationale for this bill is based on situations where drivers let their animals jump into the front-seat, causing a potentially dangerous distracting situation. (If you’ve ever been in a car with a friend who lets the dog in under the wheel, you’ll know how uncomfortable this can be.)
New Jersey would be the first state in the country to make free and easy pet joy riding illegal.
Agree? Disagree? How do you feel about government requiring you to harness your pet? Will they reimburse your copay if you get bit or scratched by a nonplussed pet?
This is more of a waste of time than anything else, particularly when there are important things to take care of like all those mortgage delinquencies.