Real Life

When your car gets towed along with your pet

What to do if your car gets towed – along with your precious pooch.

Can tow truck operators tow your car away with your pet in it? Last week, I left my little pet bichon frise in my car while I went shopping. When I returned, I got a hell of a fright. Both my car and pet had gone. I was mortified, thinking they’d been stolen. When I called the police they were able to establish that my car had been towed. After paying a ridiculous fine to the tow truck operators, I got both my car and dog back. But it was a terrible experience and I don’t think tow truck operators should be allowed to take someone’s pet as well as their car. Your thoughts?

Towing operators are allowed to remove cars even if there are animals in them. Otherwise, if you had a pet, you could leave your car anywhere. I appreciate your shock though. I’m assuming the towies’ office didn’t threaten to hold onto your dog until you paid your fine – I’d be pretty angry about that. What towies can’t do is tow away a car with a person in it. If you are in your car, you are considered to be “in control of the vehicle”.

So if you get back to your car to find it about to be winched onto the back of a truck, get into it (only if you can do so safely) and they will have to release it. They might try to bill you a “call out” fee for travelling out from their depot and hitching your car up. Don’t pay it. You don’t have to. Back to the subject of dogs, towies themselves are not allowed to take dogs out with them in their truck while they do their work.

Do you have a consumer question for Kevin? Email [email protected], or post to Weekly Consumer, PO Box 90119, Victoria St West, Auckland 1142.

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