Is it Illegal to Take a Dog in the Back of My Ute? - Latest Global News

Is it Illegal to Take a Dog in the Back of My Ute?

Farmers are known to let their dogs get in and out of the back of their pick-up trucks, but this is not practical unless you are driving in a paddock.

  • In some states it is legal to carry a dog in the bed or trunk of your ute.
  • There are laws about the surface on which the dog is located and how it is tied up
  • You must tie up your dog when he is in the loading area of ​​your ute

If you want to take your puppy in the back of your pickup truck, you must ensure that the animal is secured. In fact, in some parts of Australia, it is completely illegal to take your dog in the crate or carrier of your vehicle!

If you do something wrong and get caught, it’s more than just a slap on the wrist, and that’s because the laws aren’t traffic laws; they fall under the Animal Welfare Act. That means you could face fines of over $9,000 and – depending on the jurisdiction – up to six months in jail.

Here is an overview:


Section 7 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 states: “A person must not carry or transport a dog (other than a dog used for working with livestock) in the open back of a moving vehicle on a public road unless the dog is secured or so fenced that it cannot fall out of the vehicle.”

Fines of up to $5,500 and/or six months in prison are possible.


Section 15A of the Animal Welfare Act 1992 – You must not carry a dog in or on a moving vehicle unless the dog is restrained or secured so that it cannot jump or fall.

Working dogs are exempt. Fines of up to $3,200 apply.


Section 15A of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 states that when a dog is transported in a vehicle with a bed (a pick-up truck or a cab-chassis vehicle) or in a trailer, the dog must be secured so that it does not “fall from, eject from or move away from the bed or trailer (as the case may be) or be injured by the movement of the motor vehicle or trailer”.

The rules do not apply to herding dogs, which can result in fines of up to $1,923.

You also cannot secure a dog on the metal bed of a vehicle or trailer when the outside temperature is 28°C or more without providing the dog with an area of ​​insulating material to protect it from the hot surface.

If you are caught driving around without providing this protection for your dog, you can face a fine of up to $2,884.


The state recently passed the Animal Care and Protection Amendment Bill 2022, which, like other states, allows farm dogs to be kept off-leash.

However, it states: “A driver must not transport a dog in the bed of a vehicle or on a trailer unless the dog is secured so that it (a) cannot fall or slip out of the bed or trailer, (b) cannot slip out of the bed or trailer, or (c) cannot be injured by the movement of the vehicle or trailer.”

If you wrong your furry friend, the maximum penalty is 60 units or a whopping $9,288.


The Northern Territory has stricter regulations than other parts of the country, but dogs that work with livestock are lenient.

Section 34 of the Animal Welfare Act 2018 (NT) states: “A person commits an offence if: (a) the person transports a dog in a motor vehicle or trailer on a public road; and the person transports a dog in a motor vehicle or trailer on a public road; and (b) the dog is not in the passenger compartment of the motor vehicle; and (c) the dog is not secured in such a way as to protect it from injury from falls from the motor vehicle or trailer.”

The maximum penalty is 50 penalty units, or $8,800.

South Australia

Section 45 of the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 requires a person to effectively secure a dog by: “(i) placing it in a cage, vehicle or other object or structure; or (ii) tethering it to a fixed object by means of a chain, cord or line not exceeding 2 metres in length.”

There are exceptions – cattle dogs, herding dogs and assistance dogs may not be covered by these rules.

Western Australia

Section 6.2 of the Western Australia Dog Health and Welfare Standards and Guidelines 2020 states that persons travelling with a dog must ensure that, if the dog is to be transported on a road in the open back of a moving vehicle, the dog is (a) adequately sheltered in extreme weather conditions; and (b) adequately secured by confining the dog in a transport crate attached to the vehicle; or (c) restrained by a leash where (i) the length of the leash allows the dog some freedom of movement, including standing and lying down, but does not allow the dog to jump or fall from the crate; and (ii) the leash is not attached to a choke chain or other device that could tighten around the neck.

This law also states that a dog cannot be transported in the trunk of a sedan and that transport crates must be escape-proof and provide enough space for the dog to sit and stand. In addition, if they are attached to a vehicle, they must be “installed in a secure location that provides adequate ventilation and quality and minimizes exposure to exhaust fumes and dust.”


There do not appear to be any specific regulations regarding tethering or securing a dog in the cab or load area of ​​a vehicle. However, the Dog Control Act 2000, section 16(3) states: “The owner or person responsible for the dog must adequately confine the dog while it is in or on a vehicle so that it cannot leave the vehicle or attack any person or animal outside the vehicle.”

Fines apply – up to $905 is possible.

Not intended as legal advice. Contact the appropriate highway authority in your state or territory.

MORE: Is it legal to drive with a dog in the front seat in Australia?
MORE: Is it illegal to drive with my dog ​​on my lap?

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