By: Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – How safe is your pet when traveling in the family car? If you think that putting Fido in a harness will prevent an injury, 3 On Your Side consumer reporter Jim Donovan takes a look at a first of its kind crash test, that may have you thinking twice.
We test crash our car seats to protect our children, but how safe are the harnesses used to protect man’s best friend?
When the Center For Pet Safety put leading harnesses through crash tests, stuffed dogs turned into projectiles and one pooch lost its head!
“It was a very gruesome end for that test dog,” said Lindsey Wolko with the Center for Pet Safety.
The non-profit center won’t disclose which harnesses it tested out of fear even fewer people will secure their pets, they’ll only say not a single harness passed.
“We tested them to the child safety restraint standard and we experienced a 100% failure rate to protect either the consumer or the dog. That is a very real concern for consumers,” said Wolko.
While some manufacturers do claim to do their own testing, there is no government standard, creating an unregulated industry that can be dangerous for drivers, costly for pet owners, and at the very least, painful for pets.
“Broken legs, broken jaws, soft tissue injury, it can be pretty traumatic,” said veterinarian, Kim Haddad.
Haddad has seen what can happen to a pet in a car accident.
And while injuries are much worse when drivers let their dogs roam free, simply using a harness often isn’t enough and in some cases, they can be just as deadly.
“Something is better than nothing, but again it is only going to be as good as the manufacturer, the fit and the user application of the product,” said Haddad.
CPS is now calling for standardized testing, similar to child safety seats.
CPS is also calling for lawmakers to educate themselves on safety standards before legislating the restraints.
“When it’s a mandated product, they equate the harness to the crash tested safety seat and that’s a real concern for us,” said Wolko.
Because as these tests show, legislation alone isn’t enough to protect man’s best friend or his owner.
Contrary to what you may have heard, no state currently requires that pets be buckled up. Although New Jersey and Tennessee have proposed bills could require harnesses, it hasn’t become law.
Meanwhile Subaru is partnering with the Center For Pet Safety to create a testing standard.
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