Was It Legal for the Driver Who Crashed on the Maine Turnpike to Have Dogs in the Back of His Pickup?
A horrific accident on the Maine Turnpike on Wednesday resulted in one man being taken to the hospital and one of 10 dogs killed. That accident has led to a lot of people speculating on social media as to the law on transporting dogs in an open truck bed.
According to the Maine State Police, 38-year-old William Funkhouser of West Virginia fell asleep at the wheel of his pickup truck and swerved into a tractor-trailer causing the truck to roll over several times. His passenger, Jonah Hose of West Virginia was ejected from the vehicle while not wearing a seat belt. He was transported to the hospital with serious injuries.
According to the Ogunquit Police Department, in the back of the pickup truck was a steel cage containing ten beagle hunting dogs, one of which was killed in the crash. The nine others were found with one of them taken to a veterinarian.
In the comments on details of the crash posted on the Maine State Police Facebook page, several people questioned the act of putting dogs in a cage in the back of a moving pickup truck. Maine does have a law regarding the transporting of dogs.
According to Title 29-A, §2087, "A person driving an open vehicle may not transport a dog in the open portion of that vehicle on a public way unless the dog is protected in a manner that prevents the dog from falling or jumping or being thrown from the vehicle."
However, there are two exceptions to this rule for farmers requiring the services of a dog and for a hunting dog being transported between hunting sites by a licensed hunter who is in possession of all applicable licenses and permits for the species being hunted during the legal season for that activity.
So the driver of the truck appears to be perfectly within the law in the case of transporting the dogs. The accident is still under investigation.