Metro man calls for changes at downtown dog park after his ‘co-pilot’ falls five stories and dies

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A metro man is hoping changes are made to a downtown dog park after his nearly 3-year-old lab mix, Brutus, mistook a low concrete ledge, and fell nearly five stories to his death.

It happened at rooftop dog park near 12th and Main Street in the Power and Light District.

“He went everywhere with me, he was my co-pilot,” said Patrick Cardona.

Cardona took his dog, Brutus, to this rooftop park downtown one evening last week for the second time ever.

“I was looking at the train car, and Brutus was just running around through the tall grass just hopping,” Cardona added, “I saw him come running from behind the train car and he took a leap.”

The concrete ledge is just less than four-feet tall. Brutus fell nearly five stories.

“He thought that he was going to jump up on the wall, but instead he was going over, and by the time he realized that there was nothing on the other side, it was too late,” Cardona said. “I watched his hind legs, I watched him try and back pedal, and he just couldn`t get any traction….I can see his legs, I can hear his scream.”

Cardona says he was not close enough where he could grab him.

“I ran to the edge, and looked down to see him lying down on the sidewalk below,” Cardona said. “I ran down the staircase, and just ran straight to him, and tried to calm him and soothe him, he was screaming, he was bloody.”

Cardona rushed Brutus to the hospital. The doctor said he suffered severe head trauma, a broken leg, and internal bleeding - while they were discussing options, Brutus passed away.

“He was my best friend, he really was, he was my family,” said Cardona.

Cardona rescued Brutus when he was 3 months old, and would have turned 3 years old in November.

“That`s an accident that didn`t have to happen, and it could happen to anybody else,” Cardona said. “In the current state of the park, it is not a safe place for animals or people to be, just because if this happened to a dog, it could be a child next time, that wall, I feel like, they could easily raise the height of it.”

In a statement from The Power and Light District, a spokesperson said:

"The Power & Light District is in communication with Mr. Cardona. We are very sorry for his loss, however, we do feel it is important to note there is only a limited fenced interior area on the rooftop park that is available for dogs to be off-leash. Any other areas on the rooftop park are not intended for off-leash use."

“They assured me that they`re putting together a team to look at potential improvements for the park,” said Cardona.

Cardona says he hopes they follow through and make some changes so this doesn't happen to anyone else. He says he will never return.