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Dogs on Trains?
Yes, If a Proposed Amtrak Bill Passes!

Wouldn’t it be nice to travel with your canine companion on Amtrak, just as passengers with pets on airplanes are allowed to do?

A bi-partisan bill has been submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives that would start the process of allowing dogs and cats to travel on Amtrak.

Short and sweet, the Pets on Trains Act of 2013—co-sponsored by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.)—would require Amtrak to submit a proposal for allowing pets on at least one car of each passenger train. Just as with airline travel, the bill requires Amtrak’s plan to allow pets to travel as carry-on luggage in a passenger car, in a pet kennel that meets Amtrak’s stowage size requirements, with passengers traveling less than 750 miles. The bill also requires Amtrak to provide a proposal for pets to be carried as cargo, which—while not as pleasant for the pet as riding in the passenger car—would allow larger animals to travel by train without many of the risks of traveling as cargo on an airliner.

Each sponsor of the bill confesses self-interest in seeing the bill become law. Denham’s dog Lily regularly travels with him to and from California. Cohen considers pets to be family members who should be allowed to travel with their owners on trains, rather than left at home.

Let your representative and congressperson know you support this bill.




Rebecca Wallick is an attorney and a Bark contributing editor; she and her dogs live in Washington.
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Submitted by Carolyn | May 24 2013 |

Very glad to hear this. Would love to take my dog on the train. Have checked into this previously, as well as bus companies. Nope, they won't do it. They are missing out on a market that would love the ability to take dogs WITHOUT being forced to fly. There are some great opportunities for train and pet friendly travel packages as well. I will definitely contact my representative, thank you.

Submitted by Mary | May 29 2013 |

We'd love to be able to take train trips with our dog!

Submitted by Dan McFarling | May 29 2013 |

I would love to be able to take my dog on Amtrak, but there need to be clear standards/requirements in place, such as those used to ensure therapy dogs are safe, healthy and properly handled (e.g., standards like those used by Pet Partners).

Submitted by Anonymous | May 29 2013 |

I have never understood why you can't take your dog on Amtrak. Forces us to drive.

Submitted by Tak Nakamoto | May 30 2013 |

I think that being able to take our dogs along on Amtrak would be nice. I'd like to see this happen.

But there's a more day to day issue for dogs on public transportation. Many local public transit agencies almost totally prohibit animals on board except for service animals. This is the case for our local systems: AC Transit and BART. Both agencies require that any pets brought on board be contained in pet carriers which can be held on laps. Most dogs are not that small. Certainly not my husky.

This is a problem for pet owners without cars or who can't drive. Without transportation, it is difficult to go visit a veterinarian or more enjoyably take a friendly dog to a more distant park or to training.

We are now being encouraged to radically reduce our dependence on automobiles. Yet it is difficult to have a dog without a car and take good care of them. Many taxis won't take pets nor will some rental car agencies allow pets in their rentals. I suppose that people who can't drive or can't borrow a car rely on friends.

Some public transit agencies have more flexible policies and some totally prohibit pets. There's likely to be more discussion on this in the near future.

Submitted by Mary Mac | June 5 2013 |

Sounds great to me but I'd be better served if they allowed dogs on the NYC subway trains and the Long Island Railroad.

Submitted by Bev | December 1 2013 |

Think of the advertising that could be on these pet cars! Hello? Just an added benefit to my pup traveling with me - she is just a tad too long to fit under an airline seat???!!! Pleez! Let's get this passed for 2014. I have events to go to - and Nationals on the horizon. Hello Purina!

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