Potties for pets landing at SF airport 

The noble beagle brigade at San Francisco International Airport hailed for protecting the nation from unlawful produce won’t have to share the spot to do their doggy business with other animals traveling through the new Terminal 2.

Architects originally scrapped the idea of designing a third pet potty station near the site of the $383 million Terminal 2 — a
14-gate expansion for domestic flights that’s under construction — simply because there wasn’t space. But after scratching their heads about overcrowding the other animal lavatories or forcing animals with full bladders to walk too far, there was space made in the design for traveling four-legged friends to relieve themselve.

“The architects took parking out of a courtyard, but they didn’t take my spot,” SFO spokesman Michael McCarron said.
The modified design fences off a few private spots in Courtyard 3, between terminals 2 and 3 with the works: synthetic grass, a means for disposal and probably a fake fire hydrant too.

And since it’s the third pet restroom on the premises — the first two were primarily built for the airport’s patrolling beagles — the modification brings SFO into compliance with federal guidelines effective last year that essentially require every airport to have at least one.

“The basic purpose was intended for service animals, but of course the beagles use them too,” Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Mosley said.

In December 2000, airport officials moved the brigade from a closing Terminal 2, which used to accommodate international flights, to the opposite side of the premises.

SFO simultaneously built two open spaces on either side of the brigade’s new office so the beagles and the police K-9 unit “had a place to go,” McCarron said.

But when the expanded, 575,000-square-foot Terminal 2 reopens, it could draw up to 5.5 million passengers a year, several of whom will inevitably want to bring their animal companions with them.

“It’s a far walk,” McCarron said.

 

New drop zones

 

Guidelines for service animal relief areas at airports:

1. Service animal relief areas should be established within the secured perimeter.

2. The location of service animal relief areas should be negotiated between airlines, airport operators, assistance dog training programs and assistance dog partners. Representatives of the Transportation Security Administration should be asked to participate.

3. A minimum area of 10-by-10 feet should be set aside for each relief area. If space permits, a larger area should be designated.

4. Grass or other natural surfaces are preferred. Additional surfaces may be wood chips or gravel.

5. Every service animal relief area must be accessible for physically disabled individuals using wheelchairs or other mobility devices.

6. The service animal relief area must be maintained by airlines and/or airport operators.

7. All service animal relief areas should have bags for pick up, scoopers and trash receptacles.

8. Service animal relief areas should be fenced in with gates wide enough to provide wheelchair access.

9. Escort service staff must be trained on these requirements and notified of the mandate to provide service to and from the service animal relief area for disabled passengers accompanied by assistance dogs.

10. Other airline staff must be trained on these requirements and know the location of designated service animal relief areas.

Source: International Association of Assistance Dog Partners

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Kamala Kelkar

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