US20180228119A1 - Self-contained vehicle cage and pet stairs apparatus - Google Patents

Self-contained vehicle cage and pet stairs apparatus Download PDF

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US20180228119A1
US20180228119A1 US15/433,765 US201715433765A US2018228119A1 US 20180228119 A1 US20180228119 A1 US 20180228119A1 US 201715433765 A US201715433765 A US 201715433765A US 2018228119 A1 US2018228119 A1 US 2018228119A1
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ladder
tunnel
frame
horizontal
bay
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US15/433,765
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Alan Murray
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Alan Murray
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A01AGRICULTURE; FORESTRY; ANIMAL HUSBANDRY; HUNTING; TRAPPING; FISHING
    • A01KANIMAL HUSBANDRY; CARE OF BIRDS, FISHES, INSECTS; FISHING; REARING OR BREEDING ANIMALS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; NEW BREEDS OF ANIMALS
    • A01K1/00Housing animals; Equipment therefor
    • A01K1/0035Transportable or mobile animal shelters
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A01AGRICULTURE; FORESTRY; ANIMAL HUSBANDRY; HUNTING; TRAPPING; FISHING
    • A01KANIMAL HUSBANDRY; CARE OF BIRDS, FISHES, INSECTS; FISHING; REARING OR BREEDING ANIMALS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; NEW BREEDS OF ANIMALS
    • A01K1/00Housing animals; Equipment therefor
    • A01K1/02Pigsties; Dog-kennels; Rabbit-hutches or the like
    • A01K1/0236Transport boxes, bags, cages, baskets, harnesses for animals; Fittings therefor
    • A01K1/0272Boxes, bags, cages, baskets, harnesses especially adapted for transport in or on automobiles
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A01AGRICULTURE; FORESTRY; ANIMAL HUSBANDRY; HUNTING; TRAPPING; FISHING
    • A01KANIMAL HUSBANDRY; CARE OF BIRDS, FISHES, INSECTS; FISHING; REARING OR BREEDING ANIMALS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; NEW BREEDS OF ANIMALS
    • A01K1/00Housing animals; Equipment therefor
    • A01K1/02Pigsties; Dog-kennels; Rabbit-hutches or the like
    • A01K1/035Devices for use in keeping domestic animals, e.g. fittings in housings or dog beds
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A01AGRICULTURE; FORESTRY; ANIMAL HUSBANDRY; HUNTING; TRAPPING; FISHING
    • A01KANIMAL HUSBANDRY; CARE OF BIRDS, FISHES, INSECTS; FISHING; REARING OR BREEDING ANIMALS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; NEW BREEDS OF ANIMALS
    • A01K29/00Other apparatus for animal husbandry
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47BTABLES; DESKS; OFFICE FURNITURE; CABINETS; DRAWERS; GENERAL DETAILS OF FURNITURE
    • A47B81/00Cabinets or racks specially adapted for other particular purposes, e.g. for storing guns or skis
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47BTABLES; DESKS; OFFICE FURNITURE; CABINETS; DRAWERS; GENERAL DETAILS OF FURNITURE
    • A47B88/00Drawers for tables, cabinets or like furniture; Guides for drawers
    • A47B88/40Sliding drawers; Slides or guides therefor
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60RVEHICLES, VEHICLE FITTINGS, OR VEHICLE PARTS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60R3/00Arrangements of steps or ladders facilitating access to or on the vehicle, e.g. running-boards
    • B60R3/02Retractable steps or ladders, e.g. movable under shock

Abstract

A horizontal frame to mount in the back bay of a vehicle, formed with a rearwardly opening tunnel and collapsible ladder device received in the tunnel.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The invention relates to pet cages for housing pets while traveling in vehicles.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • In the United States alone there are some 46 million households with pets, and of those, 65% are larger breed dogs. The overall market for pets is $50 billion per year, and about 50% of that is dog owners. Pet owners and pets alike prefer each others' companionship, even when traveling by vehicle.
  • Pets, particularly dogs, are always ready for a ride in an SUV, crossover or other vehicle having some degree of interior space.
  • The rear door of a SUV or a crossover typically opens to an elevated floor, thus requiring the pet to leap up or be lifter up onto the floor of the rear bay. This serves well for younger dogs but as they grow older and joints deteriorate, the leap is highly challenging or totally impossible. Furthermore, in this arrangement the pet occupies practically the entire length and width of the bay, thus leaving no space available for other utility, such as storage of groceries, sporting goods, hunting equipment and dog paraphernalia.
  • Even then, the dog requires restraint, thus leading to the owners utilizing wire or rope barriers or the like partitioning the front and rear of the vehicle. This still leaves the rear of the vehicle totally dedicated to the pet, without space for other cargo.
  • The problem with loading dogs and particularly larger dogs into the vehicle often involves the purchase of a generic ladder or the like, which might be foldable or collapsible to be stored in the back seat and deployed at the loading spot. To make the load, the driver removes the ladder from the back seat and unfolds the sections to lean the top end against the bumper or rear of the vehicle to hopefully allow the dog to climb up the ladder without falling to the right or left or destabilizing the ladder. The problem is exacerbated in foul weather, when the ladder ramp may be exposed to the elements and the bottom end submerged in mud or water, often resulting in unequal loading and risk and fright to the animal as he or she seeks to climb the ramp.
  • It has long been known that there is a critical need for lift and ramp devices for older dogs. There are several reasons why this need has grown over the years.
  • First, older pets are not viewed as expendable, and owners of those with mobility limitations often seek various devices to maximize the quality and length of life for both the animal and owner, such as detachable wheels that may be strapped to the animal to provide mechanical means of independent movement or lightweight portable lift devices, such as hoists and the like. One significant challenge is that animals often tend to resist, particularly in inclement conditions, walking up a ramp where their paws might slip or be unstable. They may have a tendency to pull away from the owner or leave the ramp partway up, thus leading to injury and challenges for reorganizing the animal and getting them back on board.
  • These issues have been addressed in the past, including the proposal of a deployable ramp with opaque sidewalls to confine the animal ascending the ramp to avoid a sense of elevation which might disturb some animals. A device of this type is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 8,899,188 to Douglas. Such devices, while helpful for distracting animals from fear of height, are cumbersome and inconvenient to use, requiring some degree of skill and strength to store and deploy.
  • Other efforts have led to the proposal that a ramp that can be hinged to the rear of a vehicle and articulated so that it can be folded out for access by the animal A device of this type is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 6,715,177 to Lagergren-Julander. Such devices again suffer the shortcoming that they must be folded up and stored in the back seat or back bay of the vehicle and must be pulled out and unfolded each time of use to be somehow releasably attached to the vehicle itself.
  • It is also recognized that there can be benefits to containing the pet within the confines of an enclosure to be installed in a vehicle. That is, it has been proposed to provide a collapsible framework with mesh or the like to thus provide a separate housing with the vehicle. A device of this type is shown to U.S. Pat. No. 4,803,951 to Davis. Such devices, while providing some containment for the animal, are inconvenient to use and do not employ any arrangements for other components, such as ramps, stairways or storage drawers.
  • It has been known that pets find it uncomfortable to lie, sleep or sit in the bay of a vehicle with planer floors and perpendicular sidewalls. To address this problem, it has been proposed to provide peripheral cushions around the edge of the bay or the like to cushion the pet. Devices of this type are shown in U.S. Patent Publication No. 2008/0173627 to Martin, published Jul. 24, 2008. Such devices, while affording some comfort, fail to provide comfort within the confines of a cage or provide contoured shape complementing the shape of a pet's body when resting.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention includes a horizontal frame to occupy a portion of the width of the bay of an SUV or the like, leaving the remainder of the bay available functions other than transporting a pet. The frame includes a rearwardly opening tunnel which might house a rearwardly slidable, and telescopical ramp or stairway for deploying to introduce the pet to a cage mounted on the horizontal frame. In some aspects, the invention includes removable fences lining the inboard side of the frame and/or the forward end of the frame to restrain the pet from roaming about the interior of the bay or accessing the seats forward in the vehicle.
  • The features and advantages of the invention will be more readily understood from the following detailed description which should be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing the rear bay of a vehicle receiving a pet cage and stairway device of the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the right hand side of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 3 is a rear perspective view of the vehicle shown in FIG. 1, in reduced scale, with the stairway deployed;
  • FIG. 4 is a rear perspective view of the vehicle shown in FIG. 1 with the stairway deployed;
  • FIG. 5 is a rear perspective view of the vehicle shown in FIG. 1 depicting the stairway apparatus;
  • FIG. 6 is a detail view similar to FIG. 5, but showing the stairway more deployed;
  • FIG. 7 is a rear perspective view of the pet cage and stairway apparatus shown in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 8 is a rear perspective view similar to FIG. 7 but showing a cushion on the bottom frame of the apparatus of the present invention;
  • FIG. 9 is a rear perspective view similar to FIG. 8 but showing contour cushions about the periphery of the bottom frame; and
  • FIG. 10 is a perspective view, in enlarged scale, of a post incorporated in a fence included in the apparatus shown in FIG. 1.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • Referring now in more detail to the exemplary drawings for purposes of illustrating embodiments of the invention, wherein like reference numerals designate corresponding or like elements among the several views,
  • In one aspect, the present invention is intended for use in the rear bay of a vehicle, such as a crossover or SUV 13. My device includes a bottom horizontal frame, including bottom and top walls 14 and 15, respectively, spaced apart to form therebetween rearwardly opening first and second tunnels 17 and 19 for, and in this embodiment, receipt of respective rearwardly slidable ramp or stairway device 21 and drawer 23. For the purpose of illustration, I show my stairway device 21 as being telescopically extendable from the tunnel and including a rearwardly slidable, cantilevered, top platform 41, to which a top stairway section 43 is pivotally connected by transverse bolts 42. An extendable lower stairway section 44 is telescopically carried by the section 43. Preferably, the stairway sections 43 and 44 include steps spaced therealong and formed with respective surfaces 45 disposed in horizontal planes when the stairway device is deployed as shown in FIG. 3. Preferably, the device includes an upstanding front fence 35 and side fence 37, which act to partition from the forward seats and to divide the width of the bay into approximately one-half the overall lateral span thereof.
  • Utility vehicles, such as crossovers and SUVs, have become highly popular with pet owners due to the convenience of use and space provided. These vehicles are typically formed with a planer floor and vertical outboard walls 20 and a rearwardly opening doorway, which might be on the order of five feet wide, thus leaving generous space for access from the rear. It is common practice for pet owners to thus place their pets in the rear bay, occupying the entire width thereof, thus depriving the owner of that space for storage of paraphernalia and items to be transported, such as groceries, shotguns, duck decoys, and other items which cannot safely be comingled with the pet.
  • Thus, in one aspect of the present invention, I provide my pet cage of a width which will leave at least a portion of the bay separated from the pet, as, for instance, a quarter to one-half or so of the entire width.
  • I construct my bottom frame with the horizontal walls 14 and 15 spaced vertically apart a distance of, say, four or five inches to thereby provide a height for my tunnels 17 and 19 adequate to receive a robust stairway device and drawer.
  • In the preferred embodiment, I provide a framework, including vertical spaced apart stub posts 30 supporting the wall 15, which acts as a false bottom for the pet compartment. In some embodiments, I cover the wall 15 with a covering, which may be plastic, rubber or other durable covering.
  • As shown in FIG. 3, the top form and mounting slider tracks are so constructed that, when the fully retracted, the back end mounting the bolts 42 are disposed in the vertical plane of the vehicle back bumper to dispose the telescopically stairway sections clear of such bumper.
  • Mounted from the opposite sides of the tunnel 17 are rails defining oppositely opening horizontal tracks 34 to accommodate horizontal sliding of the platform 21 relative to the bottom frame and sliding of the upper end of stairway section 21 rearwardly relative to such platform so the platform may be drawn horizontally rearwardly to support the upper section in cantilever fashion. To this end wheels or sliders 24 (FIG. 1) may mounted to the opposite sides of platform 41 to engage the respective tracks and, similarly sliders or wheels mounted to the opposite sides of the platform to engage the inner track.
  • To that end the upper stairway section 43 is configured with side walls 46 which are carried on their upper extremities from tracks 20 defined by the rails 34 by means pf sliders carried on bolts 42 (FIG. 4) for pivoting and sliding relative to such tracks. Formed on the interior walls are respective inwardly opening longitudinal tracks which receive the side slats 48 of the lower section 44 to accommodate sliding longitudinally to telescope the lower section into the upper section
  • The front and side fences 35 and 37 are preferably constructed of heavy gauge wire or thin rods to form a gridwork to be self-supporting or supported from vertical posts 27 carried in upwardly opening cylindrical receivers 25 mounted to the sides and front end of the bottom frame.
  • In some embodiments, I incorporate a holding device for compressing against the vehicle overhead to cooperate in holding the respective fences in place. Referring to FIG. 10, for the purposes of illustration, I show a threaded rod 60 mounting a pressure plate 61 on the upper extremity thereof and driven upwardly and downwardly within the top of the open post 27 by means of a wing nut 29 so that once the fences are in place, wing nut 29 may be rotated to drive the pressure plates against the upholstery on the roof of the vehicle.
  • In one preferred embodiment, I incorporate a mattress 57 configured to the exact dimensions of the false bottom 15 to cover such false bottom in its entirety. In this embodiment, I incorporate an impervious cover for covering the cushioning mattress for the pet's comfort and to receive hair, grease and debris from the pet and which can be easily removed and washed by a hose or the like.
  • In some embodiments, I incorporate contoured cushions 51 and 53 (FIG. 9) along the respective fences 31 and 35 to fit the contour of a dog lying on the mattress covering such cushions. The cushions are formed with perpendicular bottom and back sides, as well as a marginal top surface 50, and then curves downwardly and inwardly to form a concave inwardly opening nest 52.
  • It will be appreciated that the drawer 23 may come in numerous different configurations and incorporate various compartments for different paraphernalia. For the purpose of illustration, I show the drawer as being customized for pet toys, water, grooming tools, cushions and the like to facilitate the organization and storage thereof and provide for ready access when needed.
  • In operation, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the device of the present invention is economical to manufacture and convenient to use. The device may be made in several different components, sold separately and acquired by the pet owner as the pet matures or habits of the pet differ over time.
  • Typically, the bottom frame is fabricated and sold with the tunnels 17 and 19, with or without the stairway 21 and/or drawer 23.
  • In any event, the apparatus itself is self-contained and can easily be installed with a minimum of skill and effort by merely loading the frame into the vehicle 13 and erecting the front and side fences 35 and 31. The fences are erected by positioning them vertically on the respective front and the inboard side of the bottom frame, with the lower ends of the respective posts 27 nested against the bottom walls of the upwardly opening receivers 25 to provide vertical support. In some embodiments, which include the pressure pad 61, the adjustable wing nuts 29 may be rotated to push the pressure pads upwardly into contact with the lining of the roof to trap the posts between the bottom walls of the receivers 25 and the lining for additional security and support, something that may be preferable for larger dogs which might bump against the respective fences when the vehicle either slows or turns a right hand corner.
  • In those embodiments which include a stairway device 21, the upper platform 41 will be slid back into the tunnel and the middle stairway section 43 and lower section 48 raised to slide the slider supporting the pivot 42 rearwardly in the track 21 and forwardly into the tracks on the inside of the respective side walls 46 of the upper stairway section 43 to thus telescope the upper section 43 relative to the platform 41 and the lower section 44 into the upper section 43, thus creating a relatively neat and attractive closure as depicted in FIG. 9. In some embodiments, the lower end of the lower stairway section 44 includes a face plate 81 mounting a handle 83 for convenience of shifting. The lower stairway section 44 may also mount on its lower extremity a brace or foot 66 (FIG. 3) which may be pivoted downwardly when deployed to serve as a support for the lower end of such section 44 to maintain the bottom end elevated from the supporting surface.
  • Likewise, either upon initial purchase or as an add-on later, a drawer 23 may be acquired to fit within the associated tunnel to provide for convenient storage and easy access.
  • It will be appreciated that the owner may elect to purchase the contoured cushions 51 and 53 to be disposed in close fit relationship along the respective side and front of the cage defined by the fences 31 and 35, respectively. The mattress 57 may then be positioned on the upper wall 15 and folded upwardly onto the respective contoured cushions 51 and 53 as shown in FIG. 9.
  • When the owner elects to take the pet on an outing, he or she may open the back door of the vehicle 13 for access to the interior of the cage. For a younger and nimble pet, the pet may readily spring upwardly into the interior of the cage without the assistance of a stairway or ladder. Then, by closing the rear door, the pet will be confined to the interior of the cage and will be blocked from leaping forwardly over into the passenger seats or intruding on the inboard side of the cage, thus leaving the storage space 20 open and accessible for storage of groceries and the like during transport.
  • For older or larger dogs, the owner will want to have the benefit of the stairway and can easily deploy the stairway for loading and unloading of the pet. This may be achieved by, when the rear door of the vehicle is open as in FIG. 9, grasping the handle 83 and easily and effortlessly drawing the platform 41 rearwardly and drawing the upper and lower stairway sections rearwardly to telescope them apart to the deployed position shown in FIG. 3. In my preferred embodiment, the components are so balanced that this deployment may be by one finger. The foot 66 (FIG. 3) at the bottom of the section 44 will provide support from the ground and, in some instances, is formed to elevate the bottom of the stairway to maintain it raised from underlying debris or mud or the like.
  • With the stairway 21 so deployed, the animal will have ready access to the steps 45 to walk up the stairway sections 44 and 46 at a favorable angle with his or her paws on the horizontal surfaces 45, thus giving a sense of security and stability as the pet progresses up the sections 44 and 43 to the platform 41 to enter the cage area to rest on the upper wall 15 or cushion, as the case may be.
  • With the pet loaded in the cage, the stairway 21 may be easily raised and the sections 44 and 43 telescoped together and into the platform 41, driving it forwardly into its stored position for convenient and compact storage during the ride.
  • From the foregoing, it will be appreciated that the apparatus of the present invention, in its various aspects, provides a convenient, inexpensive and effective means for containing a dog or other pet in a regulated area of a rear bay of a van or the like. The device is convenient to install and provides an organized arrangement for loading, unloading and transport of the dog. The stairway is stored in an organized and convenient fashion with minimal effort without the necessity of wrestling a ramp or ladder around and accessing the backseat for storage during travel, or hooking over the rear of the vehicle for loading and risking the attendant instability during loading or unloading of the pet.
  • The invention may be embodied in other forms without departure from the spirit and essential characteristics thereof. The embodiments described therefore are to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive. Although the present invention has been described in terms of certain preferred embodiments, other embodiments that are apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art are also within the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is intended to be defined only by reference to the appended claims.

Claims (21)

I claim:
1. Pet cage and stairway apparatus to be carried in the back bay of a vehicle having a floor, ceiling, side walls and doorway of a predetermined width and comprising:
a horizontal bottom frame having a lateral width less than the predetermined width, formed with back and front ends and inboard and outboard sides and vertically spaced apart top bottom walls;
upstanding side and front fences carried on the respective inboard and front sides of the bottom frame
the bottom frame configured with a at least one outwardly opening tunnel;
a portable ladder device received slidably in the tunnel;
a slider device interposed between the ladder device and bottom frame to accommodate sliding of the ladder in the tunnel;
a pivot device connecting the ladder device to the slider device to provide for pivoting of the ladder device downwardly and outwardly to an inclined loading position.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein:
the horizontal bottom frame is constructed with the a width no greater than one half the predetermined width.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein:
the ladder device includes stair steps having, when the ladder device is in the inclined loading position, horizontal step surfaces.
4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein:
the bottom frame includes a pair of first and second outwardly opening tunnels; and
the ladder device is received in the first tunnel and the apparatus includes a drawer received slidably in the second tunnel.
5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein:
the ladder device includes a plurality of stairway sections connected together by slides for sliding to an extended position.
6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein:
the side fence includes at least one vertical post supported from the inboard side of the bottom frame.
7. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein:
the post includes a vertically extendable screw device; and
a pressure pad carried on top of the screw device for selective engagement with the roof of the bay.
8. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein:
the fence includes at least one vertical post supported on its bottom end from the front end of the bottom frame.
9. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein:
the ladder device includes a foot to engage an underlying support surface.
10. The apparatus of claim 1 that includes:
a cushion supported on the top wall and sized to complementarily fit between the outboard wall and side fence.
11. The apparatus of claim 1 that includes:
an elongated contoured cushion supported on the top wall and nested against the side fence.
12. The apparatus of claim 1 that includes:
a contoured cushion supported on the top wall and nested against the front fence.
13. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein:
the ladder device includes a platform received slidably in the tunnel to be extended therefrom to an extended, horizontal position to terminate in a free end;
at least one rigid ladder section having an upper end pivotally and slidably connected with the free end; and
a slider mechanism interposed between upper end and platform for sliding of the upper end inwardly and outwardly relative to the platform.
14. A pet ladder apparatus to be carried in the back bay of a vehicle having a doorway and comprising:
a horizontal bottom frame formed with an outwardly opening tunnel to open in a an outer end facing the doorway;
a ladder device received slidably in the first tunnel for deployment from a retracted position in the tunnel to a loading position inclined downwardly and outwardly from the first tunnel;
the ladder device including a horizontal platform slidably received in the tunnel and extendable therefrom to a horizontal cantilever position to terminate in a free edge spaced from the vertical plane including the outer end; and
slider devices interposed between the tunnel and ladder device.
15. The apparatus of claim 14 wherein:
the ladder device includes steps formed to, when the ladder device is in the loading position, be disposed in respective horizontal planes.
16. A pet cage and ladder apparatus to be carried in the back bay of a vehicle having a doorway of a predetermined width and comprising:
a horizontal bottom frame having front and inboard sides and including a floor wall for resting on the floor of the bay, a horizontal top wall spaced there above, and vertical posts connecting the bottom and top walls together;
the frame formed with a rearwardly opening tunnel;
a ladder device received slidably in the tunnel and including first, second and third sections slidably connected together for extension from the first tunnel, the first section configured with a horizontal platform and the second and third sections slidably interconnected to be slidably collapsed with one another to a collapsed position and extendable to for the third section to be lowered to a support surface;
a foot mounted on the third section to engage the support surface
a drawer slidably received in the second tunnel and including compartments for storage of paraphernalia;
a side fence mounted to the inboard side of the bottom frame and including at least one post braced against the roof of the bay; and
a front fence mounted on the front side of the bottom frame and including at least one post braced against the roof of the bay.
17. A pet cage for mounting in the back bay of a vehicle having a floor , roof and rear door of a predetermined width and comprising:
a bottom frame to be nested on the floor of the bay and having inboard and front sides;
the frame having a width no greater than one half the width of the doorway;
a side fence mounted to the inboard side of the bottom frame and including at least one post braced against the roof; and
a front fence mounted from the front side of the bottom frame and including at least one post braced against the roof.
18. A portable pet stairway apparatus comprising:
a horizontal bottom frame having front and inboard sides and configured with vertically spaced top and bottom walls cooperating to define a rearwardly opening tunnel;
a ladder device constructed to be retracted into the tunnel and to be slid rearwardly therefrom to an extended position;
a slide device interposed between the ladder device and tunnel for sliding of the ladder device relative to the tunnel; and
a pivot device connecting the ladder device to the slider device for pivoting of the ladder device to a rearwardly and downwardly inclined position.
19. The apparatus of claim 18 including:
upstanding side and front fence fences carried on the respective inboard and front sides of the bottom frame to cooperate in forming a pet cage on the bottom top wall.
20. The apparatus of claim 18 wherein:
the ladder device includes a horizontal platform slidably received in the tunnel, slidable to an extended position, and including free end, and upper and lower ladder sections configured to slide together to collapse on one another and to be slid to an extended position, the upper ladder section including an upper end pivotally connected to the free end.
21. The apparatus of claim 18 including:
a foot on the ladder device for supporting it from a support surface.
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US10104864B2 (en) 2018-10-23

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