It all began with Lily, a 15-pound snowball of a French bulldog with the face of a tough guy and the personality of a princess.
She and her owner, Republican congressman Jeff Denham of California, take the occasional coast-to-coast plane ride together. But when he tried to take her on Amtrak a couple years back, he learned that only service dogs were allowed aboard. It’s a policy he’s been trying to change ever since, and he appears to be gaining momentum.
Denham chairs a House subcommittee overseeing the agencies that regulate the nation’s railroad industry. He said allowing people to bring small dogs and cats with them in pet carriers would encourage more people to travel by train instead of on congested roads. It might also bring much needed revenue to a business that relies on taxpayer support to survive.
So far, Denham has succeeded in persuading Amtrak to conduct a test run for pets along two routes in Illinois. About 145 passengers took advantage of the new service last year, with participation gradually increasing each month as more passengers learned they could bring a pet.
Read the whole story in the Sacramento Bee