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Author Topic: Am-Pooches
Gilbert B Norman
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Those of us around here who have four legs of canine (or feeline, I guess) will find this article in The Times to be of interest (possibly Open Content):

http://nytimes.com/2018/06/19/travel/dogs-train-travel.html

Fair Use:
  • A few minutes after we sank into our seats, the train whistled out of the station and the conductor made his way down the aisle. It was just like any other trek between Penn Station and Union Station, except for one thing.

    The conductor looked down at our printed ticket and mentally checked off my wife and me before pausing and giving a friendly but perplexed look. “Rufus and Hamilton,” he read off the sheet. “You’ve got four?”

    At our feet were Rufus and Hamilton, our two black pug dogs. They were nestled into their sherpa-lined travel bags, quietly being lulled to sleep by the rhythms of the train as we headed from New York to Washington.
My beloved Newfoundland/Labrador mix, Lucky (1992-03), would have loved a train ride. He would have "expected" a Bedroom, where he would have decided how much of the Lower he would allow me (probaby it would be "topside for you, Bubbo"). He would be happy to give kids "Pony Rides" in the Lounge, and in the Diner, he'd be sitting under the table waiting for that morsel to drop.

However, I don't think Amtrak has 105 lbs of "pure loving" in mind with their pet travel policy.

Posts: 8767 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MargaretSPfan
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Allowing people to take their pets on Amtrak is one more reason why I will not rife Amtrak again. I still support it, but some of its policies are incredibly stupid, and allowing people to bring their pets with them is one of those stupid policies.

What are my reasons for my view?

1. Behavior of those pets -- mostly dogs

Not all pets -- and 99% of the pets are dogs -- are well-behaved 100% of the time.

2. Pets going to the bathoomn or barfing while on board

Some pets will go to the bathroom or barf while on the train, and those bodily substances will get onto floors and seats and beds, and cannot be successfully cleaned up by on-board staff in 5 minutes. It takes deep cleaning that cannot be done while the train is in use to remove and sanitize where pets have deposited those substances.

3. Parasites carried by pets

Pets carry parasites that can be transmitted to human passengers, Fleas are very annoying, but are the least harmful of those parasites. Roundworms, anyone?

4. Careless owners allowing pets to contaminate things

In an era when people have been seen changing their baby's diapers ON RESTAURANT TABLES AND on Sightseer Lounge tables, NO ONE can trust that EVERYONE will be very careful about sanitation, and allowing pets on board Amtrak increases the changes for passengers to get sick from such contamination. (A passenger on a cruise ship was seen picking up a serving spoon that had fallen on the floor and the passenger was going to put that spoon BACK INTO THE FOOD until she was told ot to do that by another passenger!)

5. Allergic passengers

Some people are allergic to pet dander, and allowing many furry pets on board greatly increases the chances that some passenger with dog allergies may have problems. Limiting animals that are allowed on board to Seeing Eye and Hearing Ear dogs -- and dogs that are trained to assist diabetics and epileptics would greatly lessen the chances that any passengers who are allergic to animal dander would get an allergic reaction just being in the train.

In short, as I said, Amtrak is being really ignorant and uncaring and stupid to allow people to take their pets on board. Yes, I do know the political reason why this new policy was put into effect: an uncaring and selfish Congressman who did not like being told he could not take his dog on Amtrak. He pressured Amtrak to allow pets on board -- so HE could take his dog with him on Amtrak. How selfish!

Posts: 196 | From: California | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
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Please permit a dissenting opinion.

Margaret is absolutely right that some pets mis-behave. However most pets are far better behaved than some of the passengers. I’ll take a dog in his kennel carry on over a loud, obnoxious passenger any day. If you can take a pet on a Transcon flight, I see no reason why a pet wouldn’t be allowed on an Amtrak trip.

Amtrak regulations require: the pet to be no more than 20 pounds, remain in a carrier throughout the trip, the trip can be no longer than 7 hours including transfers. The pet must be harmless, odorless, and not disruptive. If it is not the conductor may refuse acceptance when boarding or require its removal.

Ok, I’m biased. Our Basset Hound mix, Bailey, is the world’s best dog and I would love to take her on board, but her 44lbs exceeds the weight limit.

Good for Amtrak for allowing passengers to take a small pet. For some, its the only loving comfort they have.

Posts: 2248 | From: Camden, SC | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MargaretSPfan
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Mr. Palmland, sir --

About dog behavior -- and almost all pets on board are dogs:

Why add another source of problems to the many that Amtrak employees have to deal with?

Amtrak is extremely under-staffed as it is, and there is no way on earth that the very few station agents Amtrak now has and the very small number of on-board employees can properly enforce Amtrak's rules about pets on board.

The last thing any of those overworked employees need is another set of problems.

And I noticed that you did not comment on any of my other good reasons why no one should be allowed to bring their pets on board Amtrak.

And I need to add one more good reason why no one should be allowed to take their pets on board Amtrak:

6. Noise

Some dogs bark a lot, and some bark almost constantly. Why subject other passengers and the crew to the noise your dog(s) may make? They (dogs) are just communicating the best way they can things that are important to them, and two of those are defending their territory and working out who is where in the current doggie pecking order.

I know you said your dog is too big to be allowed on Amtrak, but, even though she may be nice, what would you do if you were allowed to take her on board and she had to go potty when the train was moving and it was a long time until the next station stop? And why subject people who are allergic to dogs to her dander?

Thank you very much for obeying Amtrak's rules about bringing pets on board, but I am sure that most people are not as nice as you are, nor are most people willing to abide by sensible rules that are needed for everyone's benefit, and so people will brig their pets on board, even though they should not do that.

I myself am not allergic to dogs -- I just have grown to dislike them because almost all dog owners are not all that caring or responsible, and most of them put their need to have their dog with them, and whatever their dog wants at the moment ahead of the needs of people for a safe and clean and quiet environment. Sad, but true.

And none of this is the fault of the dogs.

Posts: 196 | From: California | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
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Margaret, I guess we'll just have to disagree on this one. I son't think the needs/concerns of a few should prevent the majority from enjoying their pet. I do think there should be certification required that the pet is up to date on the required vaccinations. All of our vet receipts have this printed on them (rabies, distemper, kennel cough, etc.)

It's another sign of our nanny state where we try to protect ourselves from any unpleasantness but give up many of the simple pleasures as a result. This certainly wasn't a problem pre Amtrak when many bedroom windows had a furry creature in in it as their owners headed for Florida. And today in Europe dogs on trains are a common sight.

Here is an excerpt from pet policy in Europe. This is for England (from seat61-GBN).

"Taking your pet on trains in Britain...

This bit is easy. You can take dogs, cats and other small animals with you free of charge on all British trains, up to a maximum of two per passenger, as long as they do not endanger or inconvenience passengers or staff. Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times unless contained in a basket. Dogs without leads, cats, birds and small animals must be carried in an enclosed basket, cage or pet carrier which must be rigid and not open (to prevent escape) and the animal able to stand and lie down in comfort. Animals and containers must not occupy seats, otherwise a charge may be made. If you want to use a Caledonian Sleeper to or from Scotland, you'll need to pay a fee, see here. For full details of dog & pet regulations on British trains see www.nationalrail.co.uk/passenger services/luggage animals.html."

Posts: 2248 | From: Camden, SC | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MargaretSPfan
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Thanks, palmland, for the polite reply.

I just wish you had addressed the reasons I gave for why no pets should be allowed on trains, but I will bow to your decision to not deal with any of them.

Sigh............

Posts: 196 | From: California | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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