U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, on March 14 announced the creation of the pets on trains working group to study the future effects of his bipartisan legislation, the Pets on Trains Act of 2013, H.R. 2066, and a pilot program to test the impact of allowing pets on Amtrak.
“Pets on Trains has widespread support from millions of pet-owning American families nationwide,” said Rep. Denham. “As we work to see this bill signed into law, giving pet owners another travel option and generating much-needed revenue for Amtrak, this working group and pilot program will help us better prepare to implement the law.”
Amtrak hopes to announce the pilot program soon. The Pets on Trains working group has begun meeting and includes representatives from Amtrak, The Humane Society of the United States and The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.
"Amtrak is supportive of accommodating pets on trains, and through direct collaboration with Congressman Denham's working group, is optimistic a plan can be reached to address the needs and concerns of all our passengers," said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman.
“Millions of American families have beloved pets, and allowing them to travel by train will support the human-animal bond,” said Michael Markarian, chief program and policy officer for The Humane Society of the United States. “You can take your dog or cat on an airplane, and stay with your pet in many hotels — now it’s time to extend this same access to pet owners for whom passenger trains are the most convenient or affordable method of traveling with their beloved companions.”
"PIJAC and the pet industry embrace the Pets on Trains legislation because we understand the benefits traveling together has to pet owners, as well as to the pets themselves," said PIJAC President and CEO Ken Oh. "We are pleased to be working with Representative Denham to provide a new mode of transportation for the more than 29 million Americans who have traveled with a pet in the past three years."
Rep. Denham’s bill would require Amtrak to implement a pet policy to allow passengers to travel with domesticated cats and dogs on certain Amtrak trains. The legislation was introduced on May 21, 2013 and is co-sponsored by U.S. Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN). In November 2013, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced a companion bill in the Senate. Pets on Trains has been endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States.