Legally, dogs OK in truck beds

I was traveling down Riverside last week when the driver in the truck in front of me slammed on his brakes at a stop light. One of three dogs in the back of his truck lost its balance and nearly fell out of the vehicle. I always get anxious when I see people driving with dogs in the bed of their trucks. What laws are in place regarding this? Should dogs be tied up in the back? Are there very many incidents where this is a problem?

— Tessa L., Medford

Tessa, under ORS 811.200, you can't travel with a dog on the hood, fender or running boards of your vehicle — we were all a little relieved to hear that — but it is permissible to travel with a dog in the bed of your pickup.

So, while it might not be the safest way for Fido to get around, those dogs you see with their tongues and ears flapping in the back of pickups are breaking no laws (and neither are their owners). However, if it is a flatbed truck, the dog must be secured by a leash or carrier, said Lt. Mike Budreau of the Medford Police Department.

(Note, in California, dogs must be tethered if they are in the back of any truck.)

Carrying a dog on any external part of your vehicle that is not protected by framework classifies as a Class D traffic violation and comes with a $110 fine. Medford police have given out only five citations for this violation in the past 12 years.

"So it's not something we're particularly concerned about," said Budreau.

"What's more of an issue for us is when the dog is sitting on someone's lap, obstructing the driver's view."

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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