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Ruff ride: Port Credit woman launches petition to change GO Transit's rules on pets

A Port Credit woman wants to sic fellow dog owners on Metrolinx in an attempt to change the rules around bringing pets on GO trains and buses.

Dogs are permitted on GO trains and buses but must be secured in a container

Dogs must be secured in containers to ride GO Transit. There's an online petition trying to change that. (CBC)

A Port Credit woman wants to sic fellow dog owners on Metrolinx, in an attempt to change the rules around bringing pets on GO trains and buses.

Kimberly Fleming has started an online petition to allow leashed dogs on the regional transit service.

Currently, only service dogs may set paw on GO Transit. All other pets and animals must be carried on board in a secure container.

"It's not fair," Fleming said in an interview with CBC Toronto.

Fleming's miniature Australian shepherd, Tess, now weighs 13.6 kilograms (30 pounds) and she says carrying the dog in her large crate isn't just impractical, it's impossible.

"For me to carry a crate with a 30-pound dog in it, up and down stairs, it's just too much. I can't do it."

Fleming lives in Port Credit and takes the Lakeshore West GO train to visit her daughter in downtown Toronto. She also sometimes needs to take Tess to see a specialist in Scarborough. Although Fleming could drive, she prefers public transit.

"I want to leave the car at home," she said.

Her online petition has more than 250 signatures and Fleming says she's heard from many dog owners, including people who live in downtown Toronto and do not own cars.

Fleming says the policy makes it hard for them to escape the city on weekends.

"Their dog is in a condo and they say they would like to go to Hamilton, out to Oshawa, up to Barrie, go hiking. They don't have cars, so they're stuck."

Dogs allowed at all times

Unlike many public transit services, dogs are allowed on GO trains and buses at all times of the day, including rush hour.

"We are very pet friendly," Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins told CBC Toronto.

The TTC, York Region Transit, and Mississauga transit all prohibit dogs on trains and buses during peak periods. At all other times, dogs are permitted on short leashes. Mississauga also requires a muzzle.

Aikins says the policy has always been in place, due in part to the longer duration of trips on GO Transit. She says it's about animal safety and passenger comfort.

"Sometimes people will be on our trains for an hour and a half and that may be difficult for an animal. We want them to be secured and safe."

Aikins says Metrolinx is aware of Fleming's petition and the agency is looking into it. She announced via Twitter that the company is reviewing their pet policy.

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