Dog Dies After Falling From High Rise Dog Park

CHARLOTTE, NC — An apartment high rise in Uptown Charlotte is making safety changes after the death of a resident’s dog.

The animal jumped over a wall at the building’s second-floor dog park. WCCB Charlotte’s Alexandra Elich found there doesn’t appear to be any building codes protecting pets.

The 16-month-old, blue-eyed Australian Doodle went everywhere with Rachael Bublitz.

“He’s like family,” says Bublitz. “I’m that dog person who calls restaurants to see if they have an outdoor patio that you can bring your dog to.”

Bublitz moved into Uptown 550 with Rizzo earlier this summer.

She says one of the draws to the high rise was a dog park for residents on the second floor. Bublitz took her dog Rizzo there on August 24th.

After a few minutes, Bublitz says, “We turned and looked, and he was gone. He was nowhere to be found.”

“We looked over the edge and there he was, and he was running. So I thought, he’s actually going to make it. Did he really just survive this?”

Bublitz ran down the stairs. “When I finally found him, he was just laying there. I mean, you should have seen his face though when he saw me. He looked relieved. Like he was so terrified.”

Rizzo died at the animal hospital.

A day later, Uptown 550 closed its dog park for construction.

Bublitz measured the guardrail and says it’s 43 inches, which meets state building code.

The required minimum height is 42 inches.

A Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement spokesperson says the codes do not recognize dog parks specifically, just areas for people like rooftop terraces or gathering spaces.

When asked what she hoped to see done, Bublitz replied, “I just hope that sharing this story brings awareness to the problem that there is no real code for dogs, it’s just something that’s suggested.”

Dog parks are becoming a popular amenity in Charlotte’s booming apartment scene.

“I hope that developers, and architects and complexes, that they take this seriously and really do implement a change,” Bublitz says.

Uptown 550’s dog park is still closed. The property management says the park was built to code but is adding additional fencing where Rizzo jumped.