Off-Leash Dog Parks in Mississauga
Off-leash dog parks are an accepted form of recreation in the City of Mississauga now. Thanks to the hard work and determination of local dog owners, Council agreed to establish these facilities throughout the City. They have been an overwhelming success. All costs for construction and maintenance have been fully paid for by the operating groups. Their fundraising activities have not only raised the money needed for fencing, etc. but they have also served to better educate the public on responsible dog ownership. Animal Control staff report that incidents of dogs running at large in other parks has decreased since the opening of the off-leash parks. I for one have zero tolerance for dogs at large and am 100% behind Animal Control staff enforcing the by-law stringently and consistently. There is no excuse for ANY dog, large or small, to not be on a leash while in public. To let your dog run free, regardless of its temperament or size is both illegal and irresponsible. Council has taken the steps to provide a safe area for exercising your dogs, and I urge you to use them.
Mississauga is fortunate to have 7 off-leash dog parks. These are locations where dogs can socialize and exercise off-leash while still under the supervision of their owners. The parks have been in operation for some time now and two new ones were approved in July, 2000. I have personally been involved in the inception of the off-leash program, and continue to work with the Meadowvale residents who formed The Puppy Club which operates Meadowvale's facility at Battleford Road and Erin Mills Parkway
While off-leash parks have been successful and work well in Mississauga, there are precautions that any dog owner must take when you decide to use them. There are risks involved and these are clearly posted at the entrance to all parks along with the rules, which are strictly enforced. I have compiled some Benefits and Concerns of the parks for your information. Please take a minute to read them, talk to your vet if you have further questions about the health issues and make sure you are well informed before you make the first visit to the park with your dog. It is always advisable to make the first visit at a quiet time. Midday during the week is the least busy and weekends and evenings are the busiest at all facilities. Let your dog get used to smaller groups first before exposing him to the large numbers of dogs that may be running loose. See how he reacts and then act accordingly. The facilities are a wonderful place to socialize your dog with other dogs but they are not for all dogs. If your dog doesnt get along with the others, if he/she is intimidated and cowers, you may need to find a smaller play group for your pet.
In the northwest quadrant of the City, there is a fenced dog run at Quinnippenon Meadows Community Park in Central Erin Mills. This facility is located opposite Erin Mills Town Centre on Erin Centre Boulevard and is becoming very popular with local dog owners. On any night of the week, you will see dogs having fun playing together while their owners watch and make new friends also.
Battleford Park is in the northwest. Although it is just outside Ward 9, I am a member of the Puppy Club and have participated in helping to clean up the facility, plant trees and get support from Works and Recreation staff. This is the first facility created especially for dogs in the City, and the club believes in the entire country. It is a parcel of land located beside the Works yard that the City planned to use for transit storage but will not be utilizing now. It is a rough location, as it was used for snow storage and dumping. A major cleanup by staff and club members has improved the area and it was fully seeded in spring 1998. New trees are being planted, signage has been installed, a small dog play area built and it is very quickly becoming a popular spot.
Battleford Park also has a special enclosed area for small dogs. This is used by those owners whose dogs may feel intimidated by the larger dogs in the main park. It has been very popular and successful. Battleford also has the memorial garden where owners may remember their pets they have lost.
Our latest project is the Revy Home and Garden Centre agility playground. Built with material donated by Revy Canada and built on a busy weekend by Puppy Club members, the playground provides obstacles and jumps for dogs. So far we have an a-frame, dogwalk, tunnels, table, weave poles and various jumps including a tire jump. Everything is sized for safety and for dogs of all sizes. This is the first agility playground built for dogs in Mississauga and I believe the first in Ontario.
I believe that by providing such facilities, the City can and should maintain a zero tolerance for dogs off-leash in any other city park. In fact, the parks have been so successful, Councillors are looking more more locations. Animal Control and Parks staff are very supportive of the programs as they are successful.