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 doesn't 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 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.
Q. Park will be re-located in 2005 to the east side of the forest alongside the water pumping station. It will have a walking trail as well as play area and parking on both the north and south ends.
Battleford Park was relocated in 2003 to a new larger site at Totoredaca Park. This is located on Meadowvale Blvd just north of Meadowpine. This new expanded facility has forested walking areas as well as wide play spaces. The agility playground that was so popular at Battleford was rebuilt bigger and better. The Toto group hold demos and flyball and agility fun during the spring to fall seasons. The small dog playground is still there and there are even a few "time out" dog runs for those who become too rambunctious. There is ample parking, shade, water (for drinking and washing off muddy feet, lighting, portable washrooms and places to sit at Toto and lots for the dogs and owners to do as well. Membership as of 2004 was about 300+
Richard Kelly is still at Toto doing his fantastic job of landscaping the grounds and continually improving the park.
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.