Amtrak bill would let trains go to the dogs

Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) and three other House members have proposed legislation requiring Amtrak to allow passengers to board with domesticated dogs and cats.

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"My dog, Lily, is part of our family and travels with us to and from California all the time," Denham said Tuesday. "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."

Today, Amtrak only allows specially trained service animals to be brought onboard. But Denham's Pets on Trains Act, H.R. 2066, would require Amtrak to allow at least one car of each passenger train to be used to transport dogs and cats.

Under the bill, these animals could be brought on board as long as they are in kennels, and if the passenger is traveling less than 750 miles. Amtrak would have to charge passengers for this service.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), a co-sponsor of the bill, said pets should be allowed because they are part of people's families.

"When traveling on Amtrak, families should be able to bring their pets along," Cohen said. "Our bill would establish a pet policy on Amtrak trains so pets — which are a part of the family — won't be left at home to fend for themselves."

Other co-sponsors of the bill are Reps. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) and John Campbell (R-Calif.).