Des Moines airport building potty room for service pooches

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Des Moines airport officials will have to spend up to $100,000 to build a room for service dogs to relieve themselves inside the terminal.

The "service animal relief area" will be built in a boarding area and will require removing about 10 seats.

Airport Executive Director Kevin Foley told board members Tuesday that the bathroom is required under an update of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The update requires all airports with more than 10,000 passengers a year to have a service animal relief area inside their terminals.

The Des Moines facility will have artificial turf and a sink for animal owners to wash their hands and a system for washing down the turf afterward. The relief area will be in a boarding area, which will require the removal of about 10 seats.

Some board members lamented that seats would have to be removed to accommodate the relief area.

"I'd hate to see us take seats out, because it's already so packed," board member Liz Ward said.

The Des Moines airport does have an area for animals to relieve themselves outside, but a new indoor area means travelers will not have to leave and go back through security again.

The airport has until Aug. 4 to install the relief area.

Foley raised concerns at the meeting with board members about the type of animals people can bring through the airport as service animals. According to Foley, people only need a not from a doctor to get a service animal.