The Pets On Trains Act of 2013 would allow pets to travel with their owners on Amtrak. If signed into law, the Act will overpower current Amtrak rules that disallow animals unless they are designated as service animals.
Representative Steve Cohen of Tennesse, and Representative Jeff Denham of California co-sponsored the Act, which would require Amtrak to revise their existing policy. The policy would include an allowance for pet cats and dogs “on certain Amtrak trains.”
As stated in the Pets On Trains Act, the new policies are to include several new rules for traveling pets. Trains with more than one passenger car would designate one car to be used by passengers traveling with pets.
Each cat or dog must be kept inside kennel or carrier at all times. They would be handled as carry-on luggage if the passenger is travels less than 750 miles and has paid an extra fee.
The pets could be handled as cargo as long as they are secured inside a container and the passenger will travel a distance of less than 750 miles. Additionally, the cargo containment area must be climate controlled.
The Pets On Trains Act also allows for extra fees to cover the cost of transporting the pets. The Act specifies that the new policy would not change any existing policies allowing service animals.
Lastly, the bill clarifies that Amtrak is not expected to add additional trains or train cars to accommodate the pets.
Amtrak’s current pet policy specifies that only service dogs are allowed on their trains, and their specific task must be explained by the passenger. The policy explicitly excludes “comfort animals,” pets, search and rescue dogs, and police dogs.
As reported by Huffington Post, Representative Denham was inspired to sponsor the bill as “allowing families to bring their animals with them will facilitate transportation and efficiency while also providing a much-needed source of revenue for Amtrak.”
Both sponsors of the Pets On Trains Act of 2013 point out that pets can travel on planes but not trains.
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