Mitchell International says dog park located on property must close, pet owners hope to save it
OAK CREEK, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Dog owners are pleading with whoever will listen as they try to prevent their favorite dog park from being permanently closed.
There is some question about whether Runway Dog Park next to the airport violates an agreement the airport has with the FAA.
County Parks have operated Runway Park since 2005. A Mitchell spokesman says the airport signed an agreement with the county allowing the dog park on airport property as long as the county maintained it. But some 15 years later, they may need to bow out of the deal.
Colt and Ruger can't wait to get through the gate.
"Every time I say 'dog park,' they get up, start running to the door and they start whining as soon as we start coming down this road because they know exactly where they're gonna be at," said Mike Simonis, who grew up in West Allis.
You hear the same story from others at this well-loved and mostly tranquil place.
"You leave here like okay, I just left all my worries behind. My dog's tired, I'm tired and we're all smiling," said Gail Milbrath of Milwaukee.
Gail Milbrath, Cassidy and Butch have been regulars for years. So when she heard rumors the dog park may close, she started a Facebook page and others jumped on board.
"So we were all reaching out to as many people as we could," said Milbrath.
Reaching out for answers, but getting the run around.
"But it was county and airport telling us different stories," said Milbrath. "Like nobody seems to want to take responsibility for it," Michael Klimowicz said. "And the parks people said they didn't know anything about it closing," Milbrath added.
Ultimately, the group received a copy of a letter. The county tells us it's a letter to them from the airport saying the dog exercise area is "no an allowed use of airport property as defined by the airport layout plan approved by the FAA" and so "continued operation of the dog exercise area must come to an end."
"I think it shouldn't matter and that we should keep the dog park. If there was a petition to sign, I would sign it," said Tabitha Neary of South Milwaukee.
"I come here usually about 5:15, 5:30 in the morning, and there's people coming in that early all the way up until 9, 10 at night," said Eric Sobocinski of Oak Creek.
The letter says the airport will work with the county to find an alternative site. The county tell s us they'll be meeting with airport leadership about next steps in the coming weeks. We reached out to the FAA and got a response that they would be contacting us soon, but we have not yet heard back.
You can read the letter in full below: