NJ: Belt Fido In, or Go to Jail Owners' alternative: 6 months in jail By Matt Cantor, Newser User Posted Jun 6, 2012 12:15 PM CDT 21 comments Comments Dogs have to buckle up, too, in New Jersey. (Shutterstock) (Newser) – New Jersey wants all family members buckled up—even the furry ones. Officials are worried about distracted driving, which is the top cause of US driving deaths, so forget having your pet on your lap or leaning its head out the window. If your dog or cat isn't buckled in, you could face fines between $250 and $1,000, plus up to six months in the slammer. While other states have rules against loose pets in the car, only in New Jersey does the practice break animal cruelty laws, the New York Daily News notes.