Only in MN: Dog Causes Driver To Run Car Into Owatonna Candy Shop
Distracted driving takes all forms in the case of a driver in Owatonna, the driver was distracted by a dog in their car causing them to run into the front of a candy store.
According to the Owatonna Police Department's weekly publication, Just The Facts, a person operating a vehicle recently got in some trouble after a pet inside the vehicle "got tangled up in the driver’s feet and the driver accelerated into the Russell Stover store, damaging both the vehicle and store."
Our friend Duncan over at KROC in Rochester wrote about whether or not it is illegal for someone to drive with a dog on their lap, and the answer is no, but yes as it depends on whether or not the dog gets in the way of you know...driving. According to Duncan's article Sgt. Troy Christianson with the Minnesota State Patrol said, "In my opinion, distracted driving applies to unsecured pets. Having a pet sit on a driver’s lap or loose in a vehicle could result in distraction, as well as visual obstruction."
Clearly in this case where someone's dog caused enough of a problem where the leash was wrapped around the driver's feet, causing them to hit the accelerator and drive into the storefront, would be enough for the distracted driving citation.
While it isn't illegal to have your dog unrestrained in your car in Minnesota, it is illegal to transport an uncrated animal. According to Minnesota statute 343.24
"Any person who does any of the following is guilty of a misdemeanor:
(a) carries or causes to be carried, any live animals upon any vehicle or otherwise, without providing suitable racks, cars, crates, or cages in which the animals can both stand and lie down during transportation and while awaiting slaughter;
(b) except as provided in subdivision 2, paragraph (a), carries or causes to be carried, upon a vehicle or otherwise, any live animal having feet or legs tied together, or in any other cruel or inhumane manner." - Minnesota Statute 343.24
It's unclear from Just The Facts if the driver was cited for distracted driving. So next time you go out for candy, leave fido at home, or at least in the backseat.
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