I-TEAM: Hundreds of products fail four-legged crash dummies tests

DAYTON — Ever wonder if you’re doing enough to protect your dog in the car?

News Center 7′s investigative consumer reporter Xavier Hershovitz takes you inside a lab in Washington D.C. that uses crash dummies to test pet carriers. He shows us the safety products that made the grade and some that failed.

A pet owner’s nightmare is when a dog jumps out a car window onto the highway.

Lindsey Wolko is the founder of the Center for Pet Safety near Washington, D.C. She said, “That type of an incident is highly preventable.”

Wolko has the crash test data to back it up. Since 2011 the nonprofit has tested close to 400 car restraint products for pets, including harnesses, travel carriers, crates, and stuff that dog use.

“They’re appropriately weighted,” Wolko said.

The idea is the same, just as you would put a crash dummy through a car test, you load up the crash dummy dog and put it through its own tests.

Most of the products failed and some completely fell apart. Most pet owners News Center 7′s I-Team talked with had no idea some of the products could be dangerous.

Remi, who is a dog owner said, “I don’t look for a dog safety label. I read lots of reviews, those types of things.”

When it comes to safety laws to protect your dog, Wolko said, “They are no different in the eyes of the law or the eyes of the federal government as a piece of luggage. That’s a challenge for us.”

The I-Team contacted the USDA, The Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission and it was determined that not one agency oversees pet safety travel products.

“The industry is so highly unregulated,” Wolko said, “It literally is the wild, wild west.”

It was Wolko’s personal experience on the road that led her to start testing. “I had to slam on the brakes to avoid a crash,” she said.

Her dog Maggie went headfirst and despite major injuries, Maggie survived.

“What we’re testing, this can actually happen to you,” Wolko said.

So, which products passed? The Center for Pet Safety has given its seal of approval since 2011 and 16 products made the grade.

Among them are Sleepypod Clickit Sport and Terrain Harness, Paravel’s Cabana Pet Carrier, and Gunner’s G-One Kennel.

“We tell pet owners if it is not on our list, do not buy the product,” Wolko said.

The following products have been Independently Crash Test Certified by the Center for Pet Safety:

Listed Alphabetically by Brand Name

Safety Harnesses:

· Sleepypod Clickit Sport (Sm, Med, Lg, XL)

· Sleepypod Clickit Terrain (Sm, Med, Lg, XL)

Pet Travel Carriers:

· Away Pet Carrier

· Diggs Passenger Carrier

· Gunner Kennel G1 Small with Strength-Rated Anchor Straps

· Paravel Cabana Carrier

· Sleepypod Carriers

Travel Crates:

· Gunner Kennel G1 Small with Strength-Rated Anchor Straps

· Gunner Kennel G1 Medium with Strength-Rated Anchor Straps

· Gunner Kennel G1 Intermediate with Strength-Rated Anchor Straps

· Lucky Kennel Intermediate with Lucky Strength Rated Anchor Straps

· Lucky Kennel Large with Lucky Strength Rated Anchor Straps

· Rock Creek Crate’s Medium Aluminum with Strength Rated Anchor Straps

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