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Legislative Updates: Dogs on Trains and Bid to Increase Penalties in Pennsylvania

A bill, called the Pets on Trains Act of 2013, was introduced in Congress in May that would, if passed, allow passengers to travel with cats and dogs on select trains operated by Amtrak, the government-subsidized rail system. HR 2066, sponsored by representatives Jeff Denham of California and Steve Cohen of Tennessee, is currently in committee.

The Pets on Trains Act of 2013 would call for Amtrak, the government-subsidized rail system, to allow passengers to transport dogs and cats with them when traveling fewer than 750 miles. Photo © www.canstockphoto.com

The proposed legislation would allow pets to be carried both in the cargo area and as carry-on. At least one car would be designated on each passenger train where ticketed passengers could travel with pets in the same manner as with carry-on luggage. Passengers must be ticketed to travel less than 750 miles and must pay a fee for the pet, and the pet must be housed in an appropriate “pet kennel.”

Currently only service animals traveling with passengers with disabilities are allowed on trains.

Rep. Denham told the Huffington Post in May that his family’s dog Lily travels with them frequently. He said that the proposed bill would both “facilitate transportation and efficiency” for families who want to travel with their pets and also provide “a much-needed source of revenue for Amtrak.”

Animal lovers in Pennsylvania are trying to bring more attention to House Bill 760, a proposal that would increase penalties for animal cruelty in the state. State representative Dom Costa, who introduced the bill in December last year and wants to reintroduce it this year, says that currently animal cruelty offenses in Pennsylvania “are the equivalent to a traffic ticket.” HB 760, previously labeled HB 2663 and also referred to as “Angel’s Law,” would increase animal cruelty to a third degree misdemeanor, which, according to Costa would require even first-time offenders to be fingerprinted and photographed on arrest so that “repeat offenders can be tracked.” Supporters of the bill are asking Pennsylvania residents to voice approval to state legislators to pass the proposed change in penalties.

Best In Show Daily reports biweekly on legislative actions around the country that will or may impact dog ownership. The American Kennel Club government relations office also maintains a list of Legislative Alerts on its website, where fanciers can stay up-to-date on current issues in dog-related legislation around the United States and find contact information when legislation is pending in their area.

Written by

Christi McDonald is a second-generation dog person, raised with a kennel full of Cairn Terriers. After more than a decade as a professional handler’s apprentice and handling professionally on her own, primarily Poodles and Cairns, she landed a fortuitous position in advertising sales with the monthly all-breed magazine ShowSight. This led to an 11-year run at Dogs in Review, where she wore several hats, including advertising sales rep, ad sales manager and, finally, editor for five years. Christi is proud to be part of the editorial team for the cutting-edge Best In Show Daily. She lives in Apex, N.C., with two homebred black Toy Poodles, the last of her Foxfire line, and a Norwich Terrier.