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posted: 7/1/2011 3:00 AM

Drivers, don't let big dogs in front seat

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This issue of text messaging while driving is frustrating enough, but there is another problem: Pet owners who keep large dogs unrestrained in the front passenger seat.

Drivers cannot see what is coming from the right side; their vision is completely obstructed by an animal. I have a relative who insisted that her beloved pet be in the front seat next to her, and when I said that it blocked her right side view, she told me it was no problem. The dog kept moving about and would jump in her face while driving. I said that it was a hazard and she smiled and said, "Do not worry, my angels are protecting me."

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We all might have angels protecting us but on this earth we have to take responsibility for our actions. My good advice was perceived as interfering with her personal freedom. So I dropped the subject, and then one day a woman -- a total stranger -- appeared to her right side and honked her horn. She made my relative roll down her window and the woman told her: Keep your pet out of harm's way in the back seat with a restraining harness.

The thought of her dog dying or being injured was ignored until mentioned by a total stranger -- then, she suddenly changed her mind about where the dog should be. She did not care about the potential of an injury with a fellow human being, but when it came to her pet, that was a whole different story. She would not listen to me, but to a stranger she did.

So I am saying that people sometimes love their pets more than other people. But pet owners should not have dogs in the front seats, especially big ones.

Valerie Benson

Warrenville

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