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No rule on restraining dogs in cars; park opening delayed
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If you’ve been wondering about something in your community, Ask The Times is your place to get answers. The following questions were submitted by readers and answered through the efforts of our news staff. Do you have a question you’d like our news team to answer? Contact us at:



I heard on an Atlanta radio station that there is a new law in Georgia that if you have your dog in the car it must be buckled or you can receive a $50 ticket. Really? Is this true? Is it signed by the governor already? Who started this legislation?

Sen. Butch Miller looked into this for The Times and found there is no such law. The radio station might have been playing an April Fool’s joke.

The only thing that comes close would be a requirement that dogs designated as “dangerous” or “vicious” be contained in a closed and locked cage or crate when not on their owner’s property.

Dangerous dogs are those that cause “a substantial puncture of a person’s skin by teeth without causing serious injury,” aggressively attack so that a person would believe they may be seriously injured or, while off their owner’s property, kill another pet.

Vicious dogs are those that inflict serious injury to a person or cause someone be seriously injured while trying to escape the dog.

Some states, however, do have laws limiting distracted driving caused by pets.

According to a USA Today article, Hawaii forbids drivers from holding a pet in their laps. Arizona, Connecticut and Maine drivers can be charged with distracted driving if they have a pet on their lap.

AAA reports 29 percent of those surveyed admit to being distracted by their dog while driving.

The Humane Society of the United States advises that dogs be secured in a seat belt and harness and cats in a carrier in the back seat of a vehicle since airbags can cause serious injury, just as they do to small children. Pets confined to the cargo area of a station wagon or SUV could be another option, though.

AAA reports only 16 percent of those surveyed have restrained their dog.

Using a pet restraint system can limit distractions and protect the pet, according to AAA.

When is Don Carter State Park opening?

The state park off Clarks Bridge Road, was originally set to open Phase I this month, but rain has pushed back some of the work.

A new opening date has not yet been set, according to Kim Hatcher, public affairs coordinator for Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites.

“Recent heavy rains over several weeks have delayed construction; however, we hope to open Don Carter State Park in late spring,” reads a statement on the state parks website.

The park will include two-bedroom cabins, a campground for RVs and another for tents and hammocks, but reservations are not yet available, according to the website. The park also features a beach on Lake Lanier and bath house, boat ramps and a multi-use trail.

Visitors are not allowed on the site until it opens.

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