SPOKANE, Wash. -- It is common to see the family dog in the back of a truck, especially during the summer months. Many viewers asked KREM 2 if it is legal for pets to ride back there. Here is what we found.

Regional Director of SCRAPS Nancy Hill said there are a few scenarios where a simple ride around town could go terribly wrong.

“A dog loose in the back of a pick-up truck could fall out, jump out on its own or fall out during an accident,” said Hill. “These scenarios could certainly be seen as transporting an animal in an unsafe manner which is a crime.”

Because of these scenarios, Hill pointed to two specific Washington state laws that make it illegal to put your dog in the back of a pick-up.

The Revised Code of Washington said you could be criminally charged if you travel with your animal in an unsafe manner, which Hill said includes riding in the bed of a truck.

Another RCW said if your animal is left in a vehicle with the potential of being harmed or killed by exposure to excessive heat or cold, you could face a class two civil infraction with a fine of $257.

“It’s illegal for a dog to being the bed of a pick-up if it’s at risk of falling out, if it’s at risk of heat exposure including burned pads,” explained Hill.

That is why Hill said it is best to put your animal in the cab. But if you insist on letting your best friend enjoy the outdoors while on the road, you need to have the dog restrained. Hill said there are cabling systems for trucks that will allow you to keep them safely secured in the truck bed.

If you do see a dog that is not properly restrained in a truck bed and have concerns for their safety, Hill said to write down the vehicle’s license plate, date time and location you saw the vehicle. Then, animal protection officers will follow up with an educational letter to that vehicle’s owner.

So we can verify that it is illegal to drive around with your animal in the truck bed, unless they are safely secured.


SCRAPS, Regional Director Nancy Hill


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