Ministry for Primary Industry tightens dog on ute law

They say a dog is a man's best friend and for many farmers, they're loyal workers too.

But new animal welfare laws are set to complicate that relationship with farmers, who will  soon be required to restrain dogs in their trucks whenever they're on a public road - even if they're driving from one paddock to another.

The image of a farm dog jumping onto a truck is as rural as it gets - so much so Toyota immortalised it in this infamous 1999 TV ad.

But from October farmers will be required to take extra care with their dogs.

Under new animal welfare laws, dogs riding in open decks or trailers must be tied up or in a cage when on public roads. 

North Canterbury farmer Jamie Pratt said the move is "absolute rubbish".

He had a dog crate on his truck today - but often he doesn't, and that means he could be fined up to $900 under the new law. 

"Farmers have enough to worry about and I just think it's ridiculous," Mr Pratt said.

The new law is part of a major overhaul of animal welfare regulations, covering everything from stock transport, horse castrations, fireworks at rodeos and dogs.

MPI Animal Welfare Team Manager Peter Hyde says "The justification is dogs are becoming injured - and I think it's easy to prevent."

There is one key exemption from the law - dogs don't have to be secured if they're moving or managing livestock on public roads. 

Fines can be issued by police officers as well as MPI and SPCA inspectors. 

Mr Pratt says "stinging farmers for doing what they do and have done for years i think is absolutely ridiculous for the sake of people going 200 metres down the road."

But MPI's Peter Hyde says that shouldn't happen.

"I don't think they need to be worried about minor incidents of just briefly crossing a public road.. I think common sense will prevail."

Federated Farmers also wants a "common sense" approach to enforcement.

So farmers aren't "buggered" every time they drive off with their dog.