Mississauga reviewing off-leash dog park rules after toddler attacked

Officials at the city of Mississauga are taking a closer look at off-leash dog park rules after a toddler was attacked late last month.

“Although dog bites are rare — Mississauga continues to prioritize safety and review the policies and operations of our leash-free zones to identify any improvements to prevent incidents like this from occurring again,”  Jodi Robillos, director of Parks and Forestry, said in a statement.

Peel Regional Police say a three-year-old girl was attacked and seriously injured at the Parkway Belt leash-free dog park in the area of Highway 403 and Eglinton Avenue on Sept. 23.

How was it

The girl’s mother, Phoenix Pike, said last week that her daughter, Georgia Lund, was at the park with her grandfather when she was attacked by the animal, suffering lacerations to the back of her head and several other parts of her body.

“The dog dragged Georgia down the hill about 25 feet and my dad chased them,” she said.

Pike said her father had to “kick the dog in the face a few times and get the dog off of Georgia.”

Peel police said on Friday that they still haven’t tracked down the owner or the dog, said to be a black and white husky.

The city of Mississauga says there are records of three people who were bitten at its eight off-leash parks so far this year, and there were five incidents last year.

Debated extensively

Mississauga Coun. Pat Saito said she’s in favour of a bylaw to prevent small children from entering off-leash areas for their safety, given that some dogs are not socialized with kids, or could easily knock over a child because of their size.

“I don’t know this dog. I don’t know if it’s had other incidents but, you know, it’s just a tragedy waiting to happen and it didn’t have to,” she told Global News Radio 640 Toronto host Matt Gurney on Friday.

The current off-leash code of conduct stipulates that children must be supervised, though Saito said the idea of prohibiting children was brought forward and debated extensively at a committee reviewing off-leash policies.

The city’s off-leash dog park policy review will occur as part of an ongoing review of the city’s park’s bylaws. It will look at the practices of other municipalities and the conclusions of the police investigation, Robillos said.

The recommendations will be presented to the incoming Mississauga City Council.