Petition may allow pets on board Metra


Kaitlin Hetterscheidt

Rena Church, of Aurora, Illinois, started a petition last summer, which proposed a plan to allow small pets on board the Metra, which ended up gaining 4,471 signatures. 

By Metro Reporter

After a petition uploaded to, Metra is considering allowing train passengers to travel with small animals.

Metra will be conducting a three-month trial period on the Rock Island Line between the LaSalle Street Station and Joliet during weekends, according to Metra spokesperson Michael Gillis.

“At the end of that three-month period, [Metra] would assess how the trial went and whether we would expand it to the rest of our systems,” Gillis said.

Rena Church, a 56-year-old resident of Aurora, Illinois, started the petition last summer, which gained 4,471 signatures as of press time.

“I like to come into the city and take my dog for walks, meet friends, go to the lake … and I just want to be able to take my dog on the train,” Church said.

She said that people are mystified that they cannot board the Metra with their pets.

After Church posted the petition, she said people started signing it immediately.

“[Most of the comments on the website] were really interesting and thoughtful because people were basically saying that they could not get out to the vet, to see their families in the suburbs and the city and that they could not take their pet and stay the weekend,”Church said .Julie Perziski, supervisor at Kriser’s Natural Pet Store, 1103 S. State St., said allowing small pets on the Metra would be beneficial to riders. She said Metra implementing this new policy would make her travels more convenient, and most of her customers would benefit from the policy as well.

“I work at a pet store where I am allowed to bring my pet to work, but I can’t because they are not allowed on the train,” Perziski said.

Dog owner Kali Hardey, 37, said she can see where there could be some problems attached to the new policy, such as pets on board disturbing other passengers.

“Metra should try to ensure the happiness of all riders,” Hardey said. “This new policy would make me more likely to ride the Metra because I take the Metra out to see my sister in the suburbs, and then I could bring my dog.”

Gillis said there are strict guidelines that apply for animals to ride, including being able to fit in a carrier that can sit in the passenger’s lap or fit under the seat. The pets cannot be disruptive to other passengers, and if they are, Metra has the right to remove them from the seats, Gillis said.

“This policy would most likely be just cats and dogs,” said Gillis.

“[Metra’s] Citizens Advisory Board approved the test,” Gillis said. The next plan of action is going to the board of directors at a February meeting.

“If they say it’s worth trying, we will launch this test sometime this spring,” Gillis said.

Church said the approval of this petition would benefit Chicago’s economy and the Metra.

“I have more than 4,000 signatures on that petition,” Church said. “That right there would be 8,000 rides go there and back once.”

Church said she hopes to see the petition gain even more popularity.

“It would be great to get 10,000 [signatures], but it’s a matter of getting more publicity,” she said.