DOGS on leads are now allowed on all public transport in the Greater Madrid region – subject to a maximum of one animal per person and so-called 'dangerous' breeds being muzzled.
Regional government president Cristina Cifuentes (PP) has changed the rules, which currently only allowed small pets in closed baskets, guide dogs, or 'therapy' dogs in schooling accompanied by their trainers with reflective coats in the case of the latter to identify them.
Now, ordinary family pets can accompany their owners free of charge on the metro and outer suburban lines, but must be microchipped and registered on the 'dog census' of their local council – identity requirements already in place across Spain for all canines.
Leads must be no longer than 50 centimetres (1'7.5”), and passengers with dogs must ride on the last coach of the train.
They cannot use the moving escalators for safety reasons, since dogs can become injured, but are permitted to use fixed staircases and lifts.
Dogs may still be limited or banned during periods of heavy human traffic for their own safety, and for this reason must not ride the metro during the rush hours – from 07.30hrs to 09.30hrs, from 14.00hrs to 16.00hrs, and from 18.00hrs to 20.00hrs.
No hourly restrictions apply at weekends, on bank holidays or during the months of July and August when workers are more likely to be out of town on their annual leave and fewer commuters use the trains.
Owners are responsible for ensuring their dogs do not cause inconvenience to other passengers by obstructing their movement, nor by their behaviour, barking or smell.
All excrement must be cleared up immediately from platforms or any other parts of the station, and owners and their pets should get off the train at the next stop if their dogs need to relieve themselves, since they must not do so on board.
Guide dogs and therapy dogs in training or working, plus small domestic pets in baskets are still allowed on the metro, all trains and buses at any time of the day or night, with the identification or reflective jackets still required for guide or therapy dogs working or being schooled.