BATON ROUGE––Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on June 13, 2014 vetoed a bill that would have required dogs riding in the backs of pickup trucks on interstate highways to be humanely secured, for example being kept in tied-down portable kennels, so that they cannot jump out or fall out.
“”Animal cruelty is explicitly prohibited by current law, and I trust that our citizens can care for their pets without the nanny state intervening to dictate how a dog is secured in the bed of a pickup truck,” Jindal wrote in his vetoing statement.
The bill, by Republican state representative Tom Willmott of Kenner, had cleared both houses of the Louisiana legislature by wide margins, but was reportedly opposed by the Lousiana Sportsmen’s Alliance and the Louisiana Farm Bureau. Houndsmen objected that restraining or kenneling dogs in the backs of pickups would interfere with quickly releasing them to pursue prey species.
After introducing failed bills in past years which would have required dogs in the backs of pickup trucks to be secured on any highway, Willmott reduced the scope of his 2014 bill to try to get around hunter opposition.
The Willmott bill was endorsed by the Louisiana SPCA, but Willmott in advancing it and his predecessor bills has emphasized the risk to human safety from dogs flying out of speeding trucks into the paths of other vehicles. Willmott began trying to pass bills requiring dogs in pickups to be kenneled or safely tethered, however, after two incidents in Alabama in 2008 in which dogs who were tied insecurely jumped out of pickup trucks and were dragged.
Louisiana and nearby states have also had several cases in recent years of pit bulls jumping out of pickup trucks to attack people and other animals on sidewalks.
Vetoing the Willmott bill may have regained for Jindal some favor he lost in rural Louisiana after signing a bill on June 1, 2014 that broadened the definition of “chicken” in the Louisiana law against cockfighting to specifically include roosters, game fowl and other birds, increased the penalities for cockfighting, and criminalized making, possessing, buying, or selling the spurs, gaffs, and knives that are traditionally attached to gamecocks’ spurs, if the weapons are found to be used in connection with cockfights.