This Photo Shows Why Texas Needs Tougher Animal Transportation Laws

In a viral photo that Mitt Romney would probably approve of, a dog in the Houston area can be seen standing tethered to a flatbed trailer as the truck it’s attached to zips along a freeway at 65 mph.

The photo, taken by an unidentified driver shocked by what he saw on Highway 59, was posted on Facebook on March 20 and shared more than 2,700 times within a day. Another driver also posted photos.

“You get a sense of disbelief that this could even happen,” Monica Schmidt, a spokeswoman for the Houston Humane Society, told KHOU. “And you think, ‘Are you sure this isn’t Photoshopped?,’ because it’s just so horrible that anybody would do that.”

As horrible as it is, believe it or not, this unsafe mode of transporting animals is legal in Texas.

About 100,000 dogs are killed each year while riding in truck beds, according to the American Humane Association (AHA). (I couldn’t find statistics for dogs killed while chained to flatbed trailers because, let’s hope, so few of them are subjected to this cruelty.)

“Unfortunately, we have all seen dogs riding in the bed of a pickup truck, which is an extremely dangerous way to transport your pet,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, AHA president and CEO. If that’s extremely dangerous, chaining them to flatbeds must be off the charts.

Dogs riding in truck beds (or on top of flatbed trailers) may fall out or be hit by road debris. The velocity of the air mass can cause lung damage.

Many states do allow dogs to ride in truck beds, as long as they are in a crate or restrained.

Photo credit: YouTube

Photo credit: YouTube

Animal experts like the Washington State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital faculty recommend that if a dog must ride in the truck bed, the dog should be inside a crate secured to the back of the bed so it doesn’t slide around. Only as a last resort should a dog be cross-tethered: secured with two or more points of restraint on opposite sides of the truck bed.

“Tethering with a single leash is not recommended because a dog that falls out will be dragged or hang itself,” the faculty advised.

The dog in the viral photo is restrained by a single rope attached to the middle of a chain across the flatbed.

Most states also prohibit the transportation of animals in a cruel, inhumane or unsafe manner that could jeopardize the animal or the public — à la the transportation mode of the dog in the photo.

According to Texas law, it is an offense if a person intentionally or knowingly “transports or confines an animal in a cruel manner,” which is defined as a manner that “causes or permits unjustified or unwarranted pain or suffering.”

Although the dog in the viral photo appears to be distressed, and being tethered to a flatbed certainly seems to be unjustified, the driver would only be committing a crime if the dog was injured, the district attorney’s office told KHOU.

“We really need stricter laws in Texas to be able to protect those animals that can’t protect themselves,” Schmidt told KHOU. “Every dog owner should be saddened that as a society that happens… here in Houston on our highways.”

To ensure the safety of pets — and criminal charges for owners who put their lives in danger – please sign and share this petition asking for Texas legislators to pass tougher animal transportation laws.

Photo credit: YouTube


Virginia Belder
Virginia Belder1 years ago


Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Mary R.
Mary R1 years ago

This type of transportation is not legal in Texas. It's the fact that authorities refuse to uphold the law we have in place. All animals being transported must be secured, IE kennel, belted in, horse carrier etc.

Izabela W.
IZA W1 years ago

We have a duty of care for our animal companions. The laws should be tougher to control practices such as this one. More penalties please!

Christina Walsh
Tina Walsh1 years ago

Diane B. Who cares what the petitioners opinion of Mitt Romney is. Focus on the issue! Thank you Laura, for bringing this issue to light! This is no way to treat any living thing! If a person truly cared for their pet, common sense would tell you, this is not right!

Sharon S.
Sharon S1 years ago

Absolutely disgusting treatment of a supposed pet.

federico bortoletto
federico b1 years ago

Petizione firmata.

Diane B.
Diane B1 years ago

You make an excellent point, but for you to assume Mitt Romney would "approve of this" barbaric treatment, takes away a good deal of your credibility.

Chevalier Guy
Guy C1 years ago

Incredible! I did not know that Texans have so much no respect for animals. There is always a small place for a dog in the vehicle. For the biggest animals, to create a location with guardrails and a protection in the wind can easily have settled on the trailer. When an effective law to forbid these inhuman practices ?

Dianne D.
Dianne D1 years ago

unbelievable. There are some real human idiots in this world. Hope all animals is taken away from this man for the rest of his life.