Dear Mr. Pickup Man,
I nearly caused a wreck trying to get off HW 75 in McKinney when I saw your dog running back and forth across your open flatbed. See, I just didn't want to be there when your dog fell out of the truck and was run over. Lucky me, I looked over my shoulder and saw you swerve around stopped traffic at HW 380. Guess what I saw? Your poor dog fall out of your truck. How in the world he missed getting run over by you, your horse trailer, or on-coming traffic-I don't know. How he missed the cars on the service road or how you missed getting run over yourself running across 75 after him I don't know. All I know is I pulled over to the side to see if I could stop him and watched you scoop him up and pat him on the head. I hope he is okay. I hope you took him to the vet. I hope that you learned your lesson and put your poor dog in that big pickup cab with you from now on. I got back in my car and cried and shook for quite a while before I could drive away. Mr. Pickup man, your dog was put through something terrible today and you received a little grace from God today. I hope you pass the word around that your dog is so precious that you will never, ever again put him in the back again. I hope that you tell others and that they take better care of their dogs also. Why isn't it a law that dogs don't run free in the back of pickups? Unfortunately, this article is seven years old.
Texas A&M Veterinarian Says Dogs And Pickups Don't Mix
COLLEGE STATION - It seems as if everyone and his dog has a pickup truck in Texas - and dogs may be the worse off for it. Texans love their pickups, and dogs seem to love riding in the back, a sight so familiar it has become commonplace. But it can be downright deadly for dogs, says a Texas A&M University veterinary professor. "We see numerous cases of injured dogs who have been hurt because they were riding in pickup trucks," says Dr. Deb Zoran, a professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine's Small Animal Clinic who is familiar with such injuries. "These dogs' owners just don't think a serious injury will happen, but it often does. And very often, the dog is killed or has to be put to sleep." There are no Texas laws governing dogs riding in pickups. Zoran says many dog owners don't want the dog in the front cab because it's either dirty or wet, or they believe the dog enjoys riding in the pickup bed. "They place them in the back of the pickup and go barreling down the highway at 70 miles per hour, and that's when disaster can strike," she adds. "Dogs have padded feet, which means they can't grip or hold on well at all," Zoran explains. "If the driver has to make a sudden stop or sharp turn at high speed, the dog has one way to go - flying out of the truck. The injuries that result are very serious." If they survive the fall, many dogs go on to suffer broken legs, hips or backs, the Texas A&M veterinarian notes. "One of my best friends lost a dog that way. He turned, the dog jumped out of the pickup and he ran over him," Zoran recalled. "He was devastated and said it was the best dog he had ever owned. He didn't think anything would ever happen to his dog in the back of his truck." "It's legal to let a dog ride in the back of a pickup, but it's certainly not something we recommend," Zoran believes. Zoran says if a dog is in the back of a pickup, it should be placed in some type of carrier or tied down with a harness or restraint. "There's probably not a veterinarian in Texas who hasn't treated a dog injured from riding in a pickup truck," Zoran adds. "It is so common now, especially in rural areas, to see dogs leaning over the rail in the back of a pickup, but owners should realize that it is not a safe place for a dog they love."
Contact: Keith Randall at (409) 845-4644 or Deb Zoran at (409) 845-2351 06/22/99