ecent months have seen Trenitalia and ENPA (Ente Nazionale Protezione Animali) at war following passenger complaints of flea attacks while traveling by rail. On Oct. 1, Trenitalia announced Draconian regulations barring cats and dogs over six kilograms (13.2 pounds) from riding a train, no exceptions.
Before the announcement, most travelers were unaware of Trenitalia’s pet rules. Pet owners either believed they could travel freely with their animals (I was one) or thought they couldn’t carry their pet at all. Pet travel information just wasn’t readily available or publicized. Trenitalia’s representatives lagged behind in providing details on pet supplements (never mind information on humans).
But when Trenitalia finally did make a move, pet owners and animal rights organizations roared back. Trenitalia reversed the October decree and came up with a new one on Dec. 1.
To avoid any confusion, here’s where things stand in early 2009 (subject to new changes and abridgement, of course.) The following rules — seeing-eye dogs excluded — apply to pet travel on Trenitalia’s national, regional, and Intercity network:
- Small dogs, cats and other small animals travel free on all trains in both first and second classes — except on Eurostar ETR 450 and Train OK lines. Animals must have appropriate carriers with dimensions no larger than 70 x 30 x 50 cm. Small dogs may also be leashed (and muzzled for direct/diretti, regional/regionali, Intercity Notte, Inter-Regional, IC Plus, IC and Espress trains).
- Medium and large dogs traveling on direct, regional, Intercity Notte, Inter-Regional, IC Plus, IC and espressi trains must be muzzled and leashed, and pay half of second class ticket cost, not to exceed €5.
- Owners and pets must occupy the last six seats of the last second class car. Pet tickets must be purchased at the same time as passenger tickets. The seat in front of the passenger with dog cannot be reserved for another passenger.
- Medium and large dogs traveling on regionali trains must be muzzled and leashed. Owners and pets remain in the vestibule/platform of the last car, except Monday through Friday morning (rush hour) between 7 to 9 a.m.
- All dogs may travel in couchette carriages, comfort couchette carriages, and Excelsior and Excelsior €4 Wagon Lits (exclusive use only). Small dogs, cats and other small animals travel for free, and must be in carriers (see dimensions above) or else dog may be on leash. Medium and large dogs must be leashed and muzzled. Tickets for pets must be purchased with passenger ticket, and will cost €5 or else half of a second class ticket.
A 2006 ordinance bars 17 breeds labeled as dangerous by the Italian Ministry of Health (including Pit Bulls, Rotweillers, Argentine Dogo, Fila Brasileiro, larger Molosser-type dogs, American bulldogs and certain German sheperd breeds).
When traveling with pets (on all public transport) remember to have updated vaccination information, usually a libretto (small booklet provided by your with vaccination stickers and signatures), and pet registry.
Before buying a ticket, check the pet ticket costs at the counter. Trenitalia online lists prices in its Italian and English sections.
In addition, review pet regulations for all city transport. Each city has its own guidelines, and although Italy may be pet-friendly with hotels and restaurants allowing dogs and cats, animals are often considered paying customers on buses, trams and metros.
KNOW YOUR TERMS
Gabbietta: Carrier, small cage.
For dog information, go to Trenitalia, click on “servizi per”, then on the category: “Il trasporto degli animali domestici da compagnia.”