Aussie motorist called out over 'illegal' move in ute

Concerns raised for welfare of animal in potentially dangerous position.

A Queensland resident has called out a ute driver after claiming a dog was left unrestrained in its tray.

The concerned onlooker in the regional town of Beaudesert posted a photo of the dog on Reddit, questioning whether the act of leaving the animal unsecured is legal.

"Poor fella wasn't even leashed or hooked onto anything," the person claimed. The dog appeared to be sitting on the tray of a Toyota Hilux, surrounded by equipment and toolboxes. The Redditor added that the motorist drove away with the pet still in the back.

"He has his gear all loose in the back, I see only one strap and that ties down almost nothing," one concerned commenter pointed out. "Won't take much for stuff to move around when he goes around the corners. When that happens, it could easily pin the dog to the point where it can't breathe."

Unrestrained dog in back of Toyota Hilux ute
"The expression on that dog's face says rescue me please," commented one concerned Reddit user. Source: Reddit

Big fines for illegal act

According to the Queensland government, thousands of dogs are indeed injured each year while traveling in the back of utes unsecured, and failure to do so is an offence. In mid-December last year, Queensland became the final Australian state to make it illegal to travel with an unrestrained dog in a trailer or vehicle tray.

Not following the law can result in hefty fines of up to $8,625 and even jail.

The law stipulates dogs must be secured when being transported in open vehicles to avoid potential falls or injuries from movement around the tray itself. Loose tools and equipment can also be potential hazards, as they may move in transit and seriously injure the animal. Further fines apply for an insecure load.

'Never ended well'

Many observant Reddit users remarked that the unrestrained dog in the tray was just one of many breaches of the law. "Unsecured load is the most obvious. It needs a net over it. Each item is technically a single breach. The unrestrained animal is another one," identified one eagle-eyed Redditor.

A handful of people came to the defence of the dog owner, theorising that the animal is well trained and therefore safe. However one person claiming to be a former RSPCA volunteer shared first-hand experience of accidents occurring in similar circumstances. "There were a couple of cases where dogs came off the back of trays over 60km. Never ended well for the dog," they said.

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