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Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport Opens First Indoor Animal Relief Area

Published: Tuesday, November 8, 2016 - 7:53pm
Updated: Wednesday, November 9, 2016 - 10:09am
(Photo courtesy of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport)
K-9 Big sits on the turf at the new indoor animal relief area inside Terminal 2.

A new federal regulation is making it easier for dogs to “handle their business” at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. A pet relief area just opened inside one terminal with more scheduled to open soon. The change was designed to help passengers using service animals, but customers traveling with pets will benefit, too.

On the lower level of Terminal 2, next to the family restroom is a strip of turf featuring a bright red fire hydrant. It’s Phoenix’s first indoor animal relief area. Located past the security checkpoint, the turf, roughly about 18 square feet, extends over a grate with a drain below and a flush mechanism. 

Groups representing people with disabilities reported they were often forced to take longer layovers to find an outdoor relief area and go through security again. So, the U.S. Department of Transportation now requires all airports that serve more than 10,000 passengers a year to install at least one relief area inside each terminal. 

They can be used by anyone with an animal, and Sky Harbor said it plans plan to open one in Terminal 3 and two in Terminal 4 later this year. The airport already has five outdoor areas for pets to stretch their legs, drink water and relieve themselves.