Key information about responsible dog ownership. Common laws and regulations owners should be aware of. Touches upon condo owners, those going through custody issues, traveling with pets and how the courts see things.
Animal Protection And The Legal Aspects Of Dog Ownership
THE LEGAL ASPECTS OF
Presentation for NYOC
by Suzana Gartner
October 17, 2016
“Owning a dog is not only a
privilege – it is a responsibility”
- American Kennel Club
Dog Owner’s Liability Act
Intent is to protect public safety
Responsibilities of a dog owner
Dog attacks/dog bite incidents
Orders and Control Measures
Pit bulls –in Ontario the pit bull ban
took effect on August 29, 2005.
Restricted number of dogs in the City
Responsibility, care and maintenance
Dog bites/attacks reported to the City
Licensing and Microchip
Spay and Neuter
Toronto Municipal Code
Chapter 349, Animals
How many dogs can I own in the City?
By law in Toronto: a dog owner cannot have more than 3
dogs in a residence.
Any animal in the City must have no less than 3 meters in
length for any chain, rope or similar restraining device (349-8)
Dogs on tethers should at all times have unrestricted movement
within the range of the tether
The tether should never result in injury to the dog.
LOST Dog in the City:
• Report your dog lost ASAP to Toronto Animal Services and contact microchip company.
• A dog found at large can be seized and impounded for a minimum of five (5) days during
which time the owner can redeem their dog at a Municipal Animal Services shelter.
• After 5 days, if the dog is not redeemed then the dog becomes the “property” of the
City and they have discretion to do the following:
1. Adopt the dog,
2. Transfer ownership, or,
3. Euthanize (“kill”) the dog.
You Should Spay or Neuter Your Dog
Clinics established for spaying or neutering dogs/ cats are referred
to as “City Spay/Neuter Clinics”
These clinics must operate under the control & supervision of the
In order for a dog to be spayed or neutered at a clinic it must fall
under one of these categories:
◦ Owned by a resident of the City
◦ Property of the City
◦ Adopted by a City animal center
SPAYING AND NEUTERING HAS ENORMOUS HEALTH BENEFITS
License and Registration of Your Dog:
Every dog owner must :
Register their dog with the Executive Director of the Municipal
Licensing and Standards Division
Pay a license fee
Acquire a license tag
Keep the license tag securely fixed to the dog at all times
Replace tag if lost.
If Your Dog Bit a Person or Animal the
City can issue the following:
NOTICE OF CAUTION
•Where the bite is the first bite on record
with the City (no previous reported incidents).
•Notice of Caution is akin to a warning but
should not be taken lightly and it is a dog
owner’s responsibility to take precautionary
measures to ensure there is no other bite.
NOTICE TO MUZZLE
•If the bite is considered ‘severe’ the owner
will be served with a Notice to Muzzle.
•A bite is defined as ‘piercing or puncturing the
skin as a result of contact with a dog’s tooth.’
•Where bite is a second on record with the City
an owner is served with a Notice to Muzzle.
Responsibility of a Dog Owner:
2. (1) A dog owner is liable for any damages resulting from an attack or
bite by their dog on :
1. Another person
2. Domestic animal
2. (2) If there is more than one owner- they are jointly liable for any
4. (c) As an owner you must exercise reasonable precaution to
prevent your dog from:
1. (i) Biting or attacking a person or domestic animal
2. (ii) Behaving menacingly to a person or domestic animal.
Dog Attacks or Bites
4. (3)If your dog has bitten or attacked another person or domestic
animal or is a menace to the public’s safety, the court may order:
1. (a)Euthanizing the dog; or
2. (b) The owner take more effective control of their dog
(4.2) LEASH RESTRAINT
Dog Bite Case: R v. Cook O.N.C.J. (2013)
• Charge against owner for not exercising reasonable precautions to prevent dog from biting/attacking a person.
• C knocked on the door of defendants house and dog bit her (had bitten 2 people in the past both on bicycles).
• Buddy (the dog) was quarantined for 10 days after the second bite/attack.
• D testified dog is aggressive but she always walks Buddy with a muzzle (in 2012).
• ORDER was made to muzzle dog however evidence showed he was not muzzled.
• Justice ordered the dog to be destroyed.
• “I am satisfied the dog has potential to inflict harm and it could do serious harm…..the dog is aggressive….the
owners have done too little too late.”
• “I do not see anything in the excuse offered in respect to walking that dog without a muzzle when it was under
Order…indicates to me these owners make decisions that are not logical…enough to deal with the danger caused
by their dog…..which they acknowledge in their own testimony exists.”
“Breed” Specific Legislation in Ontario:
6. In Ontario it is illegal to:
1. (a) own a pit bull
2. (b) breed a pit bull
3. (c) transfer a pit bull ( selling, gifting or otherwise)
4. (d) abandon a pit bull to a pound operated by/ behalf of municipality,
Ontario/ designated body
Ex. Toronto Humane Society
5. (e) allow your pit bull to stray
6. (f) import a pit bull into Ontario
7. (g) train a pit bull for fighting.
Is My Dog a “Pit bull”?
Section 1 of DOLA defines a Pit bull as:
a) A Pit bull terrier;
b) A Staffordshire bull terrier;
c) An American Staffordshire terrier;
d) An American pit bull terrier;
e) A dog that has an appearance and physical
characteristics substantially similar to any of those dogs
referred to in any of clauses (a) to (d).
RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNERSHIP:
1. License and provide permanent identification for your dog.
2. Spay or neuter your dog (it’s the law and has health benefits).
3. Provide obedience training, socialization, exercise and medical
attention for your dog i.e. take your dog regularly to the veterinarian.
4. Do not allow your dog to become a threat or nuisance in the community.
5. Adopt your dog from a credible source or from an animal shelter PLEASE.
Based on principles of the City of Calgary’s Responsible Pet Ownership Model.
Dogs in Condominiums in ONTARIO:
Condo owners and renters of units must comply with the condominium’s
declaration and by-laws ((s. 19(1) of the Condominium Act)).
If you have a pet and want to move into a condo, review condo’s declaration
and it’s bylaws as some condos have no pet policies in place.
Condominium corporations can sue owners and recover legal costs and they
can also register a lien against their unit.
Service dogs are exempt and the right to have a service animal is protected
under our Human Rights Code, even if condo has a “no pets” bylaw.
Condo owners can call a meeting to replace board members as majority rules.
If pets are allowed, condo board can restrict size and number of pets per unit.
Traveling with Your Dog:
TRAIN: Dogs are permitted on VIA trains and they must be carried in a crate and
placed in the baggage service department unless they are service dogs.
AIRPLANE: Dogs are permitted on most airplanes however there are size restrictions
that determine whether the dog will travel in cabin or in a crate with luggage.
VEHICLE: It is recommended that dogs are not seated in the front seat of the car for
safety reasons and should be put in a crate and seated in the back of the car.
should deal with
Dog Custody Battles in Ontario
What the law says…
Courts do not deal with access schedules and
shared custody of dogs when couples separate.
Dogs are considered ‘property’ under the law,
courts can order ownership based on the following criteria:
Proof of purchase and financial responsibility;
Name on registration i.e. licensing and microchip;
Payment of veterinary bills and grooming bills, etc.
2. Pet Custody
deal with access
Responsibility, Care and Maintenance
Follow the Five Freedoms!
1. Freedom from hunger or thirst.
2. Freedom from discomfort.
3. Freedom from pain, injury or
4. Freedom from distress.
5. Freedom to express behaviour
that promotes well-being.
Visit your Vet!
Ensure your dog’s vaccinations and
medications are up to date.
Keep your dogs clean!
Under the Toronto Bylaw “no
person shall keep their animal in
unsanitary conditions. “
100 King Street West, suite 7080
Toronto, ON M5X 1C1
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