Low income bus riders who have pets in Albuquerque, New Mexico, may be allowed to bring their dogs and cats on city buses if a pilot project is approved by the city council, according to KOAT 7 Albuquerque. Only service animals are currently allowed to ride on the bus.
The ABQ Ride Companion Animal Pilot Project is backed by Albuquerque city councilor Trudy Jones, who filed the legislation last week in an effort to help low-income pet owners get their animals to veterinary appointments.
Under the pilot project, bus riders would be allowed to bring one dog or cat on the bus any time on Saturday and Sunday as well as Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. or after 6:30 p.m. Dogs must be muzzled and on a leash and cats must be in a carrier. The owners will also be responsible for any mishaps that may occur while their pets are on the bus. If the animal becomes aggressive while on the bus, the driver will have discretion whether to ask the rider and pet to exit the bus.
Allowing pets on the city’s buses would help out folks such as Andrew Johnson, a homeless man who cares for two dogs that give him emotional support and a sense of security. Johnson told KOAT 7 that if the program is approved, it would help him get his pets to the vet. Johnson, who makes sure his companions get their shots and checkups regularly, currently walks his dogs “pretty far” to get them to their appointments.
“I think it’s a good thing. I also know a lot of elderly homeless folks who have a hard time being mobile with their pets,” Johnson told the local news station. “This way they could get around.”
The program, if approved, would begin in July.