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House Bill Would Allow Amtrak Riders To Bring Pets On Train

This adorable puppy could be your train companion, if two congressmen have their way.
This adorable puppy could be your train companion, if two congressmen have their way.

Amtrak has plenty of problems as it is, and a pair of congressmen are tackling a relatively minor one: an existing ban on pets on the train.

Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) and Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) have introduced a bill that would allow Amtrak riders to bring their domesticated cats and dogs on trains with them. Under the bill's provisions, Amtrak would have three months to develop a pet-friendly policy that would allow riders to pay a fee to carry pets on designated rail cars or in cargo holds.

The policy wouldn't be absolute, though—the dogs or cats would have to be in a kennel or crate, and the policy would only apply for ticketed trips under 750 miles. 

Standing Amtrak policy forbids all pets, spare service animals.

“My dog, Lily, is part of our family and travels with us to and from California all the time. If I can take her a on a plane, why can’t I travel with her on Amtrak, too? Allowing families to bring their animals with them will facilitate transportation and efficiency while also providing a much-needed source of revenue for Amtrak," said Denham in a statement.

According to Amtrak, close to 11 million passegers rode the rails along the Northeast Corridor in 2011, a third of all ridership across the country.

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