Dogs on Amtrak – let’s change the rules!

Dogs on Amtrak ? dogs on amtrakWell unfortunately dogs are not allowed on Amtrak. We have a major issue with this. If they allow dogs on airplanes, why are dogs not allowed on trains? Why can I travel with my dog Kobi (who is 18 lbs) on the Delta Shuttle from New York to Washington DC, but I cannot take him on the Amtrak Acela from DC to NYC. Worst of all, I have seen Amtrak officials bring German Shepherds on the train in order to sniff out other dogs. This isn’t 1943. Why is Amtrak allowed to do this? In Europe, dogs are allowed on most trains. You can buy them a ticket and bring them with a leash onto the train with you or have them in their dog bag. At the stations, you can take the dog out while the train is stopped.

I recently read an article about this issue on dogfriendly.com. Unfortunately, it seems that it will take an act of Congress to force Amtrak to allow dogs. Luckily, at least ten congressmen are willing to introduce a bill to do just that. Led by Jeff Denham of California, they have proposed a bill that would require Amtrak to allow dogs. They stated that relaxing the pet ban would help Amtrak raise revenue. Mr. Denham also stated that this was a personal issue for his family: “My dog, Lily, is part of our family and travels with us to and from California all the time. If I can take her on a plane, why can’t I travel with her on Amtrak too?”

As a dog owner, I can understand that not everyone wants to ride with a pet in their train car. However, according to the AVMA, 36.5% of households in America have dogs. I specifically chose a dog breed so that I could travel with my pet – he’s less than 20 lbs and hypoallergenic.He’s been properly socialized and accustomed to traveling on subways, cars, airplane and other modes of transportation.

The current bill H.R. 2066, as proposed, would restrict pets to one car. There would be a fee for each dog or cat. We understand the fee, but it seems like more than one car on a train would be fine. I’m sure some owners would prefer a separate car for cats and dogs. Regardless, the current bill would require dogs and cats remain in a kennel and the total trip could not be longer than 750 miles. We don’t know why there is a restriction to 750 miles and if this mileage restriction is helpful in any way.

The Humane Society of the United States, the nation’s largest animal protection organization, supports H.R.2066, a bill that will propose a pet policy that allows passengers to transport dogs and cats on Amtrak trains. We definitely support these actions and will keep you up to date with the results.

We put together a petition on Change.org (https://www.change.org/petitions/the-u-s-house-of-representatives-the-u-s-senate-support-pets-on-amtrak-support-h-r-2066-pets-on-trains-act-of-2013) in order support dogs on Amtrak and the proposed legislation H.R. 2066, which would allow pets to travel on Amtrak. Please take 1 minute to sign the petition.

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