This document provides an overview of the 11 states that have laws or regulations concerning the transportation of horses that specifically prohibit the use of double-deck trailers.
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 numerous 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." There is a particular danger of the floor collapsing on either the upper or lower deck causing death or injury to the horses being transported. (See the EPN at http://www.saveamericashorses.net/transport/transportindex.htm#Anchor-Rame-50523 ).
The table provides links the laws concerning the transport of horses in vehicles. In 2008, Rhode Island became the sixth state to ban the use of double-deck trailers to transport horses by law. Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont had previously banned the use of double-deck (or "possum belly") trailers by statute. Arizona and California ban the use of double-deck trailers for the transportation of horses to slaughtering establishments.
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 result in 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.