Last week dozens of dogs joined politicians at Washington D.C.'s Union Station to support the Pets on Trains Act, which is currently being debated in the House of Representatives. The canine crew was joined by Rep. Steve Cohen's (D-Tenn.) French Bulldog, Lily, and Rep. Michael Grimm's (R-N.Y.) Yorkie, Sebastian.
Currently Amtrak only allows service animals on board. This limitation means that dogs must travel long distances by plane if their families aren't up for the road trip by car. Rep. Cohen has a personal investment in the Pets on Trains Act as Lily travels regularly with him between Tennessee and California, currently by plane.
The bi-partisan bill, sponsored by Rep. Steve Cohen, Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), and Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), would require Amtrak to submit a proposal for at least one "pet car" per passenger train, where dogs and cats could ride in kennels with the carry-on luggage, and a cargo option for larger pets. A companion bill, S.B. 1710, has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).
Given the risks of flying with dogs, particularly large pups who have to ride in cargo, I would love to see Amtrak become pet friendly. I'd also hope that for the big guys, train cargo would be safer than airline cargo. If you'd like to see the bill pass, now is the time to contact your representative to let them know you support the legislation.