Restrained dog survives fatal car crash

August 27, 2009 at 9:00 pm Leave a comment

news01-08-14-09-2In Utah last month, a 2007 Nissan Murano – one of those mixed breed car/SUVs referred to as a crossover – was hit head on by a Ford F-150 pickup. Despite a seat belt and air bags, the driver was killed on impact. Her restrained dog, however, survived the crash in fairly good shape.

According to Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) , a dog was in the back seat of the Murano but was restrained and survived the collision with no significant injuries. Lieutenant Lee Perry of the UHP tried to find out exactly how the dog was restrained, but could not figure out which Mendon fire fighter removed the dog. “I just know they told me the dog had been restrained.  Mary Doty’s family also told me she always restrained her dog in the back,” said Lt. Perry.

Mary Doty believed strongly in animal therapy, and her therapy dog was highly popular around the Utah State University where she worked as the director of the counseling center. Her dog was frequently in the car with her.

This summer I wrote a product comparison article on pet restraints (for Tuft’s Your Dog newsletter, which is not available online) so the news hit me hard. Some of the restraints were better than others, but any restraint is better than none. I felt that the safest restraint was the RuffRider Roadie Elite, but because there is no buckle it has to slip over the dog’s head and chest. Dodger hated getting it on and off because he is a sensitive type, so for him I use his regular harness attached to the seat belt with the connector from the Solvit Pet Vehicle Safety Harness (the fleece-lined harness is a higher quality than you’d think for the low price). I also like the Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness. The trick is find a harness that your dog doesn’t mind going off and on, and one that fits appropriately. Some folks use anchored crates. What you never want to do is tether to a dog’s collar because it could injure the neck and in a collision the neck could easily be broken. Cats should be confined in a cat carrier or small crate.

Whatever product or system you find works best for your dogs and vehicle, the key is to USE IT each and every time your dog is in the car. Mary Doty is surely glad her dog survived even if (or especially because) she didn’t.

(Photo reprinted with permission from Utah Highway Patrol.)…


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