Rover can ride unleashed but cannot sit in driver’s lap
On July 8 my brother went to the store about three minutes from my house. He took our pet Shih Tzu along for the ride. On his way home he was pulled over by a police officer but let off with a warning. He was told it is against the law to have an animal in your vehicle without it being on a leash, because we have a leash law. He also was told that if the animal is not tethered by a leash, it would have to be in a doggie car seat. Is this true? Then how are all these people able to drive around with their animals sticking their noses out the windows or riding in the beds of trucks? Was the officer indeed correct or just pulling my brother's leg?
Answer: Either there was a miscommunication or a misinterpretation of the law.
If your brother was carrying your dog on his lap, he was violating state law. That might be news to some dog owners, who can be seen driving around with their dog in their arms.
Otherwise, there is no state or county law requiring that animals riding within an enclosed vehicle be leashed or in a "doggie car seat."
Michelle Yu, spokeswoman for the Honolulu Police Department, said she did not know what the officer was referring to in regard to a dog seat, but said there are two relevant laws pertaining to transporting animals in a vehicle:
» Section 291C-124(b) of the Hawaii Revised Statutes says, "While operating a motor vehicle, no person shall hold in the person's lap, or allow to be in the driver's immediate area, any person, animal, or object which interferes with the driver's control over the driving mechanism of the vehicle." Violators face a $97 fine.
» Section 15-24.22(b) of the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu says that "no dog or any other animal shall be transported on any public street or highway in any vehicle unless such animal is totally enclosed within such vehicle, within a secured container carried upon such vehicle, or securely cross-tethered to such vehicle in such a way as to prevent the animal from falling out of or off such vehicle, and to prevent injury to the animal."
The tethering refers to dogs carried in the bed of pickup trucks, for example. Violators face a $57 fine.
"Totally enclosed" is not defined.
However, Section 15-24.2(c), which deals with horses and cattle, says they should be within enclosed vehicles if transported on a public street. "A vehicle shall be deemed enclosed, even if it provides openings for ventilation, so long as the horses or cattle cannot fall or jump off of or out of the vehicle through any of its openings."
To a good Samaritan who found my Palm PDA/phone at the Makaha Resort over the Fourth of July weekend and turned it in to the hotel. The front desk staff thought his name was Darren Ishii. Because of the safe return of the phone and a lesson learned, I was able to secure and delete the incredible amount of confidential information contained in it. Mahalo nui loa to all who helped! -- Mark F.
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