Florida Could Ban Dogs Sticking Their Heads Out of Car Windows

A bill that could ban dogs sticking their heads out of car windows has been proposed in Florida, alongside other measures related to animal welfare including prohibitions on the use of cosmetic animal testing in the state and the declawing of cats.

The bill—Senate Bill (SB) 932—was introduced in Florida State Senate on February 17 and was written and sponsored by Democratic Senator Lauren Book, who has served in the state's chamber since 2016.

The proposed legislation includes several bans aiming to increase protection of animal rights in Florida and foster better animal welfare, such as prohibiting businesses from "manufacturing, importing for profit, selling, or offering for sale in this state a cosmetic developed or manufactured using cosmetic animal testing conducted or contracted by certain persons or from conducting or contracting for cosmetic animal testing."

Dog Car Window Funny
Stock image of a dog looking out of a car window. A new bill filed in Florida State Senate last week asks for a ban on dogs sticking their heads out of a moving car's window. iStock / Getty Images

It also aims to put a ban on declawing cats in Florida and legally force the Department of Law Enforcement to post on its website a publicly accessible registry of persons convicted of animal abuse offenses.

Among the several proposed bans, there's also one prohibiting a person "from taking specified actions relating to the transportation of dogs on public roadways"—including letting dogs stick their heads out of car windows.

According to the bill's text, drivers would be forbidden from allowing "a dog to extend its head or any other body part outside a motor vehicle window while the person is operating the motor vehicle on a public roadway." The proposed legislation also asks to prevent people from holding dogs on their lap while driving in a car or having a dog sit in front of them while riding a motorbike.

The bill asks instead that dogs be transported in any motor vehicle while secured in a crate that is of appropriate size, safely restrained with a harness and pet seat belt, or controlled by a passenger in the car, who is not the driver.

While sticking their heads out of car windows might be a beloved activity for dogs, experts have long said that the habit of feeling the breeze in their furry faces can be quite dangerous for pets. There's always a risk—especially for small dogs—that animals may fall out of the car window. By having their head outside of the car window, dogs may also be exposed to debris, dust, rocks, bugs that could damage their eyes and generally injure them.

"Our family has three dogs—two of which are almost 175 pounds each and love sticking their heads out the window—so I welcome and appreciate all public comment on this issue, which is only one piece of a complete proposed overhaul of the state's animal welfare system as brought to me by veterinarians and advocates," Book told Newsweek in a written statement.

"We can easily amend this piece out of the bill while protecting the intent of the animal welfare community and vets who proposed the policy because of unintended injuries they've treated—and we will. In the meantime, let's all invest in a good pair of 'doggles' to keep our furry friends safe."

Lauren Book
A picture of Senator Lauren Book's three dogs. Lauren Book

Should it pass, the bill would become effective as of July 1, 2023.

Update, 2/23/23 4 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to include a comment from Sen. Lauren Book.