Following on the heels of Mayor Bloomberg's ban on certain sugary drinks in New York City restaurants, a wave of absurd regulations has seemingly begun emanating outwards. In neighboring New Jersey, drivers can be fined up to $1000 for driving with "unrestrained" animals in the car, and the Mayor of Berkeley, California is looking to ban sitting on sidewalks.
According to CBS in Philadelphia, police and animal control officers will be authorized to ticket New Jersey drivers between $250 and $1,000 if they have "unrestrained" animals in the front seat of their car, on the driver's lap, partially out the window, or even in the back of a pickup truck.
Dogs, apparently, should be placed in harnesses and then buckled in, and cats should go in a carrier which can be subsequently buckled in.
Ray Martinez, the head of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, says it is part of a larger "Click It or Ticket" effort to avoid distracted driving.
"It’s not cute," he condemned. "It’s actually dangerous for the driver. It’s dangerous for other drivers and it’s dangerous for that pet."
Col. Frank Rizzo, police superintendent for the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Animal Cruelty, further clarified that the fine occurs for each "offense."
“So, if you have more than one animal loose in your car, just do the math…” he said.
WTXF-TV interviewed New Jersey residents, most of whom were sympathetic with the regulation:
But other New Jersey residents are chagrined: "It’s that time of year when drivers cruise along highways and scenic back roads with the windows down, wind blowing through their hair, music blaring and their faithful four-legged canine riding with his/her head out of the window," the New Jersey Newsroom began.
"The image is almost as old as time, and this year it’s an image travelers will be seeing less and less ..."
As for Berkeley, California, Mayor Tom Bates is looking to strengthen the ordinance that prohibits lying on sidewalks between 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
He explained: "The problem is it's really not enforceable, because a person comes along and says 'you can't lie here,' so they sit up and now they are sitting and are not violating the law."
Watch KGO-TV's interview with the mayor and associated "sitters," below:
If approved by voters in November, violators would receive a warning for four months, before being slapped with a $50 fine or community service.
Bates maintains that the measure is not an attack on the homeless, but, he explained: "Sometimes there will be so many people sitting on the sidewalk you can't even use them. This also puts a lot of people off when they see people just sitting around on the sidewalk."
Does the government too far in micromanaging the safety of a citizen's dog, or saying whether a person can sit on public property? Or are these measures fine, since they are local and people have the option to move elsewhere?