Dogs are no longer allowed at Hillside Shopping Centre as of March 1. (Facebook/Victoria’s Elite Dog Training Services)

Dogs no longer welcome at major Greater Victoria mall

New dog policy begins March 1 at Hillside Shopping Centre

Customers at Victoria’s Hillside Shopping Centre will no longer be able to bring their furry, four-legged friends to the mall with them.

As of this March, dogs will not be allowed to accompany their owners while they shop.

“We are finding that our doggie visitors are having difficulty differentiating between inside and outside behaviours,” a notice on the mall’s website says. “We thank those dog owners that adhered to our policies but unfortunately many dog owners did not.”

According to the notice, complaints came from other customers who were concerned about dogs being in restricted areas – like the food court – and about the “disregard of the dog waste pick-up policy.”

Service dogs, with the appropriate designation, are still allowed.

Barb Maja, a certified professional dog trainer and owner of Victoria’s Elite Dog Training Services, said she thinks it’s unfortunate that dogs are no longer allowed at Hillside Shopping Centre. She said it served as a great opportunity to socialize puppies before they were fully vaccinated and able to play at parks and outside.

“They could get used to different noises and different people,” Maja said. “Owners could carry them around or push them in a stroller since puppies under 12 weeks can’t be on the ground.”

In a Facebook post through Victoria’s Elite Dog Training Services, Maja noted that “a good thing is ending” due to irresponsible dog owners.

However, Maja said those looking to socialize their puppies still have other options. For example, they can take them to events like soccer games or to other pet-friendly stores like Canadian Tire.

“But remember, we never want to overwhelm our puppies so I recommend going…early in the morning or late evening,” Maja said. “Taking your puppy in a stroller is a great way to get the outdoors and be safe from diseases that live in the ground.”

The new no-dog policy comes into effect at Hillside Shopping Centre on March 1.

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca

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