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Is it legal to have unrestrained dogs on ute trays or trucks?

As outlined in the table below, legislation in most states and territories specifically prohibit people from transporting dogs unrestrained on the back of utes or other open vehicles or trailers.  In those states in which it is not specifically prohibited (i.e. Qld and WA), it is still an offence to transport an animal in a way that is likely to cause the animal harm or is otherwise inappropriate for the animal’s welfare.

RSPCA Australia advises people to ensure their dog’s restraint is long enough to allow him to stand and lie down, but not so long that he could jump or fall over the edge of the moving vehicle. Use swivels to attach the restraint to both the vehicle and the dog’s collar to prevent the chain from tangling.

Also remember not to drive with your dog in the tray of the ute if he is going to be exposed to extreme weather conditions. Ute trays can get very hot in the sun and dogs can burn their footpads so please take precautions to protect your pet.

Consider purchasing a safety-belt restraint so that you can drive with your dog in the cabin of your ute where he is safer, especially in the case of an accident.

State/TerritoryYes/NoName of relevant act/special conditions and requirements
ACTNoSection 15A of the Animal Welfare Act 1992 prohibits a person from carrying a dog in or on a moving vehicle if the dog is not restrained or enclosed in a way that prevents the dog from falling or jumping from the vehicle.
NSWNoSection 7 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 prohibits a person from carrying a dog on the open back of a vehicle unless the dog is restrained or enclosed in such a way as to prevent the dog falling from the vehicle.
NTYesThe provision which prohibited transporting a dog unrestrained on a vehicle was removed from the Animal Welfare Act in 2013.
QldNoQueensland legislation does not specifically address the transportation of unrestrained dogs however s.18(2)(f)(iii) of the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 prohibits a person from transporting an animal in a way that is inappropriate for the animal's welfare.
SANoSection 45 of the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 prohibits a person from transporting a dog on an open tray of a vehicle unless the dog is enclosed or restrained in a way that prevents the dog from falling or escaping from the vehicle.
TasNoSection 16(3) of the Dog Control Act 2000 requires a person in charge of a dog in or on a vehicle to restrict the dog sufficiently to prevent the dog from leaving the vehicle.
VicNoSection 15A of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 prohibits a person from transporting a dog in or on a tray or trailer unless the dog is secured in such a way as to prevent the dog from falling off or being injured from the movement of the vehicle or trailer.
WANoWestern Australian legislation does not specifically address the transportation of unrestrained dogs however s.19(3)(a) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002 prohibits a person from transporting an animal in a way that is likely to cause that animal unnecessary harm.

The information presented here is not intended to be relied on for legal advice and you should seek advice from the relevant authority and/or a lawyer about your individual circumstances.

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Updated on May 16, 2019
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https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/is-it-legal-to-have-unrestrained-dogs-on-ute-trays-or-trucks/

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