Transit pet policies questioned after woman’s tragic death on BART platform

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Policies being implemented by the transit system on service animals and pets are now under question following the death of a San Francisco woman who was dragged as her dog, tied to her waist, was left inside the moving train.

BART officials said the victim, Amy Adams, 41, has died after she got off the train when it was about to depart, leaving inside her dog that was tethered to her waist. The incident happened on Monday afternoon in Powell station.

Adams was dragged down onto the tracks which caused her death.

The incident left people shocked, leaving BART officials wondering if pet restrictions on the station could have prevented the woman’s death.

BART officials are not convinced that the woman’s pet dog was a service animal. Near her body, there was also a dead guinea pig found.

People carrying their pet dogs – big or small – was a usual scene on stations before the pandemic.

Service animals are allowed to guide persons with disabilities. This includes signal dogs and guide dogs provided that they are working with harnesses and leashes, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act requirement.

“Service animals are working animals, not pets,” part of the policy reads. “The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability.” Pets or animals providing comfort or emotional support are required to ride inside crates, carriers, or cages.

Some directors along with the BART officials will consider fresh pet policies on stations after the details on the incident will be provided.

A boost in the enforcement in both the stations and the trains, meanwhile, is being demanded by Director Debora Allen of Clayton.

The issue was not new to Allen, she said, as she reviewed it in the past and said police officers are hindered to enforce the police strictly because of the unclear definition of a service animal.

Police officers and BART employees were not allowed to ask for details of the disability of the person as well as the role of the dog they are with, San Francisco Chronicle reported.

“Anytime you make it difficult to define in the field, police are not going to push the issue,” she said, as she expressed intention to look for a state legislator that will push for a law that will collate recorded service animals.