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SALT LAKE CITY — We all know that seat belts save lives but there is one passenger who is often overlooked: your pet. Salt Lake County Animal Services is encouraging pet owners to use seat belts for their dogs after responding to several crashes recently.
“I’ve responded to two accidents that two dogs passed away from in the last month and a half,” Officer Gerri Cantor with Salt Lake County Animal Services said.
Cantor believes dog seat belts can make all the difference in an accident. They help keep your pet in the vehicle.
“It keeps your pet from going through windows, it keeps your pet away from first responders so that you can receive medical attention,” she said.
Cantor said although it can seem like more work for pet owners, it is worth taking the extra step to protect them.
“The extra 10 to 15 seconds to keep everyone safe is worth it,” she said. “We buckle our children and we can buckle our pets in too.”
Teresa Wilhelmsen and her black lab Emory do everything together including car rides. “She is a phenomenal dog, she really is,” she said. Their bond is undeniable. “She’s my crazy monkey, my total crazy monkey.”
Wilhelmsen credits the pet seat belt she uses on Emory for keeping her safe during an accident a couple of months ago along 2100 South and State Street.
“I remember seeing the car hit us and looking in the rearview mirror and seeing (Emory). She was on the back seat, still where she was supposed to be because of the seat belt,” Wilhelmsen said. Neither was hurt in the crash.
She hopes others learn from their experience and will continue putting Emory’s seat belt on during car rides.
“I will never not seat belt her now,” Wilhelmsen said.
Seat belts for dogs can cost as little as $10-$15 and can be found at pet supply stores or online.