State looks into installing service dog 'relief stations' at airports
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Trudi Gold trains service dogs. And when she's at Honolulu International Airport, she has to leave the terminal if her dog needs to use the potty.
"You have to leave security in order to take the dog out then you've got to through the whole security line again and show your ticket and all that," she said.
Hawaii's airports have outdoor pet relief stations. But a federal regulation says certain airports need to make potty spots available inside the terminal.
State Transportation Department spokesman Tim Sakahara said DOT is looking into it the requirements.
"We are in discussions on how to be in compliance with that and to accommodate those pet service animals," he said.
Available space is the biggest hurdle. Pet stations can't interfere with airport operations.
Sakahara said there are some options at Honolulu's airport that might work.
"There are some grassy areas and garden areas within the airport facility, past the security checkpoints," he said.
More and more, service animals are traveling with their owners. That makes the issue of relief stations at airports more than just a nice-to-have addition.
Disability attorney Lunsford Phillips says Hawaii airports should expect more service dogs in the near future.
"Service animals or assistance animals are a great untapped resource for increased accessibility for people with disabilities. I think there's going to be more of this in the future, not less," he said.
Airports can opt out of the new regulation.
"In some cases, airports may not necessarily need one of these post security pet relief stations. And Honolulu International might be in that category," Sakahara said.
But Gold hopes Hawaii will install them for service animal owners and their dogs who need to heed when nature calls.
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