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Laws and Regulations Concerning Equine Transport

Rebecca F. Wisch

Animal Legal & Historical Center
Publish Date:
Place of Publication: Michigan State University College of Law
Printable Version

Laws and Regulations Concerning Equine Transport


The following table provides the laws concerning the transport of horses in vehicles.  On July 5, 2008, Rhode Island became the sixth state to ban the use of double-deck trailers to transport horses by law.  PA, NY, MA, VT, and MD previously banned the use of double-deck (or "possum belly") trailers by statute.  Two states, CT and VA, regulate their use by administrative regulation.  Arizona and California ban the use of double-deck trailers for the transportation of horses to slaughtering establishments. 

According to the advocacy group, the Equine Protection Network (EPN), accidents involving double-deck horse trailers in three states in recent years resulted in the deaths of 55 horses.  These advocates contend that the use of double-deck trailers is dangerous because the trailers are not "designed, safety tested, or manufactured for horses." See the EPN at

Penalties for violating laws prohibiting the use of double-deck trailers varies by state.  For example, in Maryland, a first violation results in a $500 penalty per horse; subsequent violations incur a $1000 penalty per horse.  Likewise, Rhode Island also provides for a first penalty of at least $500 per horse, and at least a $1,000 for each subsequent violation.  Under Pennsylvania's law enacted in 2001, each violation constitutes a misdemeanor in the third degree for each horse transported in such fashion. 







Connecticut (by reg.)








New York




Rhode Island




Virginia (by reg.)





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