Dog picture sparks debate: 'Crazy that people think this is OK'

The image of a dog tethered to the back of a ute has divided many people online. Would you do it?

It's a common sight to spot a dog on the back of a ute in Australia. Yet an image of exactly that has sparked fierce debate online, with some stunned by the fuss while others question why it's still allowed.

Over the weekend a dog was pictured on the back of a ute on the Gold Coast and was strapped up against the cabin by some kind of harness or rope, with one concerned motorist sharing the image online. Despite being legal to transport a pet this way, a debate on Reddit ensued.

A dog can be seen standing on the back of a ute tethered to the cabin, with the picture taken by a passenger in a nearby car.
The dog can be seen tethered to the back of the ute on a Gold Coast road. Source: Reddit/Good-Popular

In Queensland dogs can only be transported on the tray of a ute if it is secured to stop it from:

  • falling off the tray or trailer,

  • moving off the tray or trailer,

  • and being injured by the movement of the vehicle or trailer.

A lead or chain must be anchored to the middle of the tray, and attached to a secure collar at a length that allows the dog to move around comfortably without being long enough for the dog to reach the edge of the ute.

People responding to the picture of the ute on Reddit questioned the rule while others had no problem with the situation.

"Law or not the driver is a piece of sh*t ... I’ll continue caring about animals," one user wrote while another agreed it was "crazy that people thought this was OK". However, other dog owners shared their dogs were as "happy as Larry" while travelling on the back of a ute.

RSPCA weighs in on debate: 'Try to work around' tethering

There are three different methods in which dogs can legally travel in and on a vehicle, however this "common type" is the RSPCA's "least preferred" for dog owners.

"Generally inside the vehicle with a dog attached to a harness and collar ... that's the best way," RSPCA Queensland Inspector Kyle Patrech told Yahoo News Australia. The second option is to provide the dog was a "dedicated canopy" or cage which can be attached to the back of a ute.

"The other two methods at least provide the animal with some protection from the elements... we try to work around the third way of using harness or tether attached to the very middle of the tray."

According to the Queensland government thousands of dogs are injured every year due to owners incorrectly restraining their pet to the back of a ute, with a maximum penalty of $9,288 being enforced in the state if done incorrectly.

Why is tethering the 'least preferred method'?

Tethering a dog to the back of a ute offers the "least control" in comparison to the other methods of transporting a dog, the RSPCA says.

A dog can be seen tethered to the back of a ute.
Thousands of dogs are injured every year due to owners incorrectly tethering their pet to the back of a ute. Source: Getty

"There needs to be enough slack in the chain so it can at least turn its head or sit down ... but not so much slack to jump over the edge and entangle or hang itself," Kyle said. "That's why we want to move away from the tether, there's no set way with how they [pet owners] set it."

And as always, the dog's wellbeing should take priority above all else. "If your animal is distressed you should look at what you're doing and rethink it," Kyle said.

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