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Trenitalia, Italy’s national rail line, will prohibit canine companions weighing more than 13 pounds from traveling with their owners starting Wednesday.

And pets of all kinds that do make the weigh-in will have to be carried in cages or containers along with a recent note from a veterinarian stating that the animals aren’t carrying any parasitic passengers of their own.

The new policy — which exempts guide dogs for the blind — was posted recently on the Trenitalia Web site. Efforts to reach company officials to clarify the situation were not successful, so it’s not clear how the regulation will affect passengers from other countries traveling into or through Italy on a train.It’s also unclear whether veterinarians will be providing the certifications — good for a maximum of 30 days — free of charge.

The new regulations are apparently aimed at combating ticks and fleas on trains, according to an article posted by Corriere della Sera of Milan, one of the country’s largest newspapers.

The report quotes Vicenzo Soprano, the Trenitalia chief executive officer, as stating that passengers found in violation of the new regulations will be fined 100 euros. Opponents of the plan, including at least one member of parliament, are vowing court action and civil (and presumably pet) disobedience. Corriere listed a barrage of criticisms in its article, including complaints that Trenitalia should just do a better job of cleaning its trains.

Soprano was quoted as saying that new cleaning contracts are also in the works, and that companies interested in bidding had until Friday to do so.

Valentina Lehman provided translation for this report.

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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