Councillors have rejected proposals to allow dogs in cages to be carried on Manchester Metrolink – despite a recommendation that they should accept the plans for a trial to take place. Councillors said that a recent risk assessment had raised concerns over passenger safety, fouling, damage, animals’ stress-induced behaviour and allergies. The decision has not been universally met with approval, in fact you could say some are barking mad over the news.
The campaign group, Campaign to Allows Dogs on Trams (you might suggest it is a single interest group), were at the meeting where the decision was made with campaign organiser Phil Bradby saying: “We are very disappointed with today’s decision. The move was recommended for approval by officers and there was no clear argument against a trial at the meeting today. In fact a number of councillors seemed to be ill-informed about the matter. This doesn’t feel like a democratic decision, in fact we applied to speak at the meeting today and that request was refused. There should be a common sense approach – responsible dog owners would know if it was safe to take their dogs on board. We cannot understand why councillors have voted against even trying it out, we accept it’s an issue that divides people but to not even see whether it can work seems wrong. But we are not giving up and will continue to campaign on the issue.”
Animals have been banned from Metrolink since opening in 1992 except for assistance dogs and those pets being taken to the PDSA charity in Old Trafford.
Cllr Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: “This is a very emotive issue for a variety of reasons and this decision is certainly not one that has been taken lightly. We’ve asked for considerable evidenced-based feedback from officers and listened carefully to Metrolink passengers, dog owners and assistance dog groups and health groups. Metrolink operates as a high-frequency, high-volume, unstaffed system and there is no representative available on board to assess the potential risk posed by animals. While the vast majority of dog owners are responsible, there is no way to guarantee all dog-owners will ensure their dogs behave appropriately and do not represent a nuisance or, worse still, a risk to passengers. At the same time, we also cannot guarantee the welfare and safety of dogs travelling on trams. Our primary concern in making this decision has been the continued safe and responsible operation of the Metrolink network, which now carries over 32 million passengers a year.”