A motorist in Darwin, Australia is outraged after she was fined $184 because her dog who was sitting in the passenger seat of her car was not wearing a seatbelt. Police have since admitted it was not actually against the law. Millner resident Mel Bugg said she was pulled over at a breath-test station in the suburb. She was issued with an on-the-spot fine for having her maltese-poodle cross, Hendrix, not properly restrained in her car.
Ms Bugg said that when she was pulled over Hendrix jumped on to her lap from the front passenger seat as she unwound her window to talk to the officer. She said he asked her if there was a reason why she had her dog unrestrained in the vehicle. She replied she was not aware the law required dogs to be restrained inside cars. "He said there were TV commercials telling people it was law, but I told him that I don't watch (free to air) TV because I hate ads," Ms Bugg said.
"It didn't get me anywhere because he still hit me with the $144 fine plus a $40 victim levy. I was furious. Hendrix is my baby - he weighs probably 2kg and I take him everywhere with me. I've lived in the Territory for 17 years and I have never heard of this. None of my friends were even aware of this." But Northern Territory Police spokeswoman Rebbeca Forrest said it was once an offence under the Animal Welfare Act - but had since been repealed.
"I understand that the infringement team identified that this offence was repealed in February 2013 and as such, the infringement is invalid," she said. "The process to withdraw the infringement commenced earlier this week." Territory motorists are still prohibited from transporting an unrestrained dog on the back of a pick-up. Ms Bugg said she had since gone and purchased one-year-old Hendrix a seatbelt from a pet store. "I've gone and bought him one but it was so hard as he is tiny and none of them fit him properly," she said. "I've had to buy the smallest one they had."