Pets in the City: Dangerous Dogs
The City of Toronto has a responsibility to effectively balance, manage and address dog owners' responsibilities, dog behaviour, and public safety city-wide. Municipal Code Chapter 349 (Animals) has been amended to mitigate risks associated with dangerous dogs, reduce the risk of dog bite and/or attacks and hold dog owners responsible for their dogs.
What is a dangerous dog?
Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 349 defines a dangerous act as any bite, attack, act of menacing behaviour (injures or threatens a human without biting them) or a combination of the above.
Chapter 349, Animals defines a dangerous dog as:
- A dog that has severely bitten a person or domestic animal (pet)
- A dog that has bitten or attacked a person or domestic animal (pet) and it is the second bite or attack on record
- A dog that has injured or threatened a human
- A dog that is the subject of a muzzle or control order
What happens if a dog bites, attacks or engages in a dangerous act?
- If the dangerous act is the first on record with the City, the owner will be served with a written warning
- If the dangerous act is the second or subsequent on record with the City or is determined to be severe, a dog can be deemed to be a dangerous dog
- If the dog is under a muzzle or notice of caution order, and a bite occurs, the Animal Care and Control Officer can determine the dog to be a dangerous dog
- Before a dog is deemed dangerous, an investigation will occur to determine if the dog was acting in self-defence.
If a dog is deemed to be a dangerous dog, the owner must adhere to the following requirements:
- Muzzle, leash and maintain control of the dog at all times when off the premises of the owner.
- Ensure the dog is wearing a dangerous dog tag at all times.
- Prohibit the dog from entering into a designated leash-free area of a City park.
- Post a warning sign on the owner's property.
- Obtain training for the dog.
Pets in the City: Dogs
If you are new to Toronto or just new to having a dog, you may not be aware of the bylaws that apply to pet ownership. Municipal Code Chapter 349 covers owning pets in Toronto.
Toronto Animal Services promotes the health and safety of people, pets and animals living together in Toronto communities through bylaw enforcement and mobile response. Animal Care and Control officers respond to public safety concerns involving animals jeopardizing the safety of the public.
Know Toronto's Animal Bylaws
Your dog must be licensed. Dogs go missing every day. A licence helps to bring them home. The licence must be renewed yearly and the licence tag must be worn. You automatically become a member of the BluePaw Pet Licensing Rewards program and receive exclusive offers and discounts on pet-related products and services.
You can have up to three dogs. The maximum numbers of pets that you can own is six cats and three dogs. You cannot walk more than three dogs at once without a commercial dog walker's permit.
Poop and scoop. Pick up after your dog on private and public property.
There is a one-hour maximum for tying up your dog at home. If you are tying up your dog up on your own property, there is a time limit of one hour. The tether used to tie your dog must be more than three metres long. You cannot use a choke collar, choke chain or pronged collar for your dog at any time.
Be aware of weather conditions. Your dog must be protected from the cold and/or heat. Leaving your dog in the yard without shade or water in the summer and adequate shelter in the winter is risking your dog's life.
Respect your neighbours. If your dog is continuously barking or whining and disturbing your neighbours, you can be fined under the Noise Bylaw.
Leash and control your dog in public. Some people fear dogs – respect their feelings and concerns. Your dog must be kept on a leash no more than two metres long. You must be holding on to the leash - leashing your dog to a pole or bike rack is not allowed.
You are responsible for your dog if it bites a person or another animal. Dog bites should be reported to Toronto Public Health (416-338-7600) and 311 as soon as possible. In the event that the bite victim is transported to the hospital, a bite complaint should be made as soon as possible after treatment is complete.
If your dog has bitten, attacked or poses a menace, your dog may be deemed a "dangerous dog". If your dog is deemed a "dangerous dog", there are special requirements that you must follow.
Taking care of your dog
Owning a pet is a long-term commitment. Although the below topics are not part of the Bylaw, the City encourages following these steps to make sure that you have the best experience possible with your dog.
Spay or neuter your dog. Spaying and neutering pets prevents and reduces a number of serious and expensive health problems, reduces unwanted behaviour related to mating and prevents pet overpopulation.
Microchip and vaccinate your dog. Animal Services' Chip Truck is a low-cost, mobile microchip and rabies clinic for dog and cat owners. The Chip Truck offers a microchip/rabies vaccine and a pet licence for $35. If your pet has a current City of Toronto licence, the cost of your microchip is $10. No appointment is necessary.
Exercise, train and socialize your dog. Walk your dog often and on a leash (no longer than two metres). If you would like to get your dog additional exercise, consider visiting one of the City's off-leash dog parks. Some dogs are excluded from off-leash areas, including unlicensed dogs, female dogs in heat, and dogs that must be muzzled or leashed under order from Toronto Animal Services.
Provide veterinary care for your dog. Keep your dog's vaccinations up-to-date and make sure they have annual check-ups.
Toronto: 2.7 million people. 230,000 dogs. With so many people who love dogs (and many others who don't), we have to all work together to live in harmony.
- Leash and control your dog in public.
- Stoop and scoop.
- Exercise, train and socialize your dog.
- Spay/neuter and license your dog.
More information about living with your pet in Toronto.
See the City's 57 off-leash dog park locations.
Toronto Animal Services' SNYP (spay/neuter your pet) Mobile Clinic is reaching out to pet owners who are in low income households, who may otherwise not be able to afford traditional veterinarians. The Clinic will be rolling into Neighbourhood Improvement Areas throughout the city to provide spay and neuter services for dogs and cats.
Whenever possible, it is best to develop a personal relationship with your own veterinarian, much like it would be with a doctor.
Residents with an income of less than $50,000 will qualify for subsidized or waived fees.
Please Note: It is not safe for dogs larger than 30 pounds to be spayed or neutered in the SNYP truck. There is not enough room in the truck to move a large dog that is under anesthetic.
If we identify an owner that needs help with a large dog, we will do our best to accommodate the dog in our shelter clinic or refer them to another clinic that can help.
SNYP Truck Clinic Dates and Locations:
Please note: We do our best to stick to the following schedule, however, the SNYP Truck clinic dates may be subject to change. We may cancel due to inclement weather and we would appreciate it as well if owners would also cancel if they cannot manage to get to their appointment due to the weather.
Please also note that we don't have an indoor space where owners can wait with their pets, so please take this into account if it is very cold out and you are not able to wait outside with your pet. During these winter months, clients who don't have transportation to and from the location may only book small dogs that can be carried by their owners or placed in a carrier. This precaution is being taken because we don't want larger dogs that we would normally schedule to walk home in the cold if their owners don't have transportation back from their appointments. Cats may be scheduled as they all come in carriers.
How do I book an appointment? You will be able to make your request by calling 416-338-6281 or by email email@example.com
Centennial Recreation Centre
1967 Ellesmere Road
Jane Finch Mall
1911 Finch Ave W
January 11, 25
Februrary 8, 22
March 1, 22
April 5, 19
Note: March 8 date cancelled
25 Photography Dr
Note: March 9 date cancelled
All Saints Church Community Centre
315 Dundas St. E
NOTE: Feb. 7 date is cancelled
200 Wellesley St. E
Wellesley Ave/Bleecker St
185 5th St. Etobicoke
Yonge St Mission
306 Gerrard St. E
1161 Caledonia Road
February 23 - cancelled
222 Lansdowne Ave
Why spay and neuter? Spaying and neutering pets prevents and reduces a number of serious and expensive health problems, reduces unwanted behaviour related to mating and prevents pet overpopulation.
Thank you to PetSmart Charities of Canada!
The state-of-the-art truck is the first of its kind in Canada and was made possible through a $250,000 donation from PetSmart Charities of Canada, and additional donations from Toronto residents.
1967 Ellesmere Road – Centennial Recreation Centre
Toronto Animal Services' south shelter is currently closed.
All animals are redirected to our other shelters.
Back to the Animal Services home page
Canine Distemper (CDV)
Canine Distemper (CDV) is a virus that is generally present in the raccoon population, but at low levels. Dogs can also contract this virus.
Raccoons with distemper may approach people, or curl up to sleep in open areas in close proximity to people. They generally act disoriented or lethargic, but can become aggressive if cornered. They may have seizures.
Canine Distemper does not pose a threat to human health. Dogs that have not been vaccinated for distemper can become infected if they come in contact with a raccoon with distemper.
If residents notice a raccoon displaying abnormal behaviour, they should call 416-338-PAWS.
Residents are not to approach or feed the raccoons.
What is normal raccoon behaviour?
Raccoons in an urban setting can become quite tame and seem to have little or no fear of humans. They are nocturnal and sleep during the day however during breeding season you may see an active raccoon during daylight hours. Raccoons may also be seen during the day if they have been flushed from hiding. They are not true hibernators which means they may be seen during the mild winter weather. Raccoons are only aggressive if cornered - they would sooner run away if confronted.
Male raccoons are solitary and these are usually the ones you will find sleeping on deck, roof tops, etc. Females usually have a den site and prefer protected elevated areas for the protection of their young.
What is abnormal raccoon behaviour?
They appear blind and confused and may wander aimlessly and may become aggressive if cornered. A mucus discharge will often be present around the eyes and nose and may be accompanied by coughing, tremors, seizures or chewing fits.
What is Canine Distemper?
Canine Distemper is a viral disease affecting animals in the canine families, in addition to some other mammals. It affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems. Raccoons, dogs and skunks can be infected. The disease is most often fatal and animals that recover may display permanent neurological damage.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can humans catch Canine Distemper? No. Humans cannot get Canine Distemper.
2. Can my dog catch Canine Distemper? Yes. If your dog has not been vaccinated against distemper, and comes into contact with a raccoon with distemper. Most dogs are vaccinated as puppies, and then have regular boosters. Puppies that have not been vaccinated are at particularly high risk.
3. How can I keep my dog safe? Keep your dog on a leash and check your backyard before letting your dog out.
4. What are the symptoms of a raccoon with distemper? Raccoons with distemper may move slowly or stumble as they walk. They lose their fear of humans, appear blind and confused and may wander aimlessly and may become aggressive if cornered. A mucus discharge will often be present around the eyes and nose and may be accompanied by coughing, diarrhea, vomiting, tremors, seizures or chewing fits. They may only exhibit some of these symptoms and otherwise appear quite healthy.
5. What should I do if I see a raccoon that I think has distemper? Do not approach them. Do not feed them. Call 416-338-PAWS and give them the location and time of the sighting.
6. Can anything be done to help the raccoons? Once a raccoon is infected, there is little to no chance of survival for the animal. It can take several weeks for the disease to run its course in the raccoon. Young raccoons are most susceptible to this virus.
7. Should I feed the raccoons? No. Do not feed raccoons or leave food out for them. Any food that is left out may only attract other wildlife, or attract sick raccoons to areas that pets frequent.
To discourage raccoons or any wildlife from coming onto your property:
- Do not leave any food out. At this time, it would also be advised to take down any bird feeders, or regularly clean up the area around the bird feeder so you do not attract raccoons
- Ensure all garbage, recycling and green bins are secure and left out on the morning of your regular pick up
- Keep your pet on a leash when on a walk and scan your yard before letting them outside
- Explain to your children why they should not approach raccoons or any wildlife even if they seem docile
- Check with your vet to ensure your dog has been vaccinated against distemper if you are not sure
Follow these steps if you have lost your pet.
The Chip Truck offers City of Toronto pet licences and microchips and a rabies vaccine for only $25 for cats and $35 for dogs.
Toronto Animal Services provides care for thousands of unwanted, abandoned or lost animals each year. Your donations support programs such as Spay/Neuter, Extended Veterinary Care, Shelter Enhancements or Pet Adoption, Socialization and Enrichment programs.
When you donate to Toronto Animal Services, 100% of your donation is used to directly benefit the animals. Your support means so much to animals right in your own community.
How to Make a Donation
Make a donation by:
Donate through our online portal.
Phone 416-338-7387 (PETS) and making a credit card donation.
Mailing a cheque to Toronto Animal Services, North Animal Shelter, 1300 Sheppard Avenue West, Toronto, Ontario, M3K 2A6.
At an animal shelter
In person at a Toronto Animal Services shelter, seven days a week from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Tax receipts are issued for donations of $20.00 or more. Please note that 35 Spadina Rd is not open to the public and will not accept in-person donations.
Our Wish List
Food for the animals
- KMR Kitten Milk Replacement (powder and liquid) for foster parents
- Esbilac Milk Replacement
Medical Supplies and Equipment
- digital animal thermometers
- baby scales (for cat foster program)
Miscellaneous Animal Supplies
- new cat litter - clay only
- new animal nursing bottles
- wire dog crates (large and extra large)
New Animal Toys and Enrichment
- New Mylar crinkle cat toys
- New fuzzy mice
- Stretch & Scratch (in packages of 6, 12, 25 and 30)
- New feather teaser toys
- New heavy rubber toys like Kongs
- New strong rubber squeaky toys
License your pet and receive BluePaw discounts!
The Chip Truck offers City of Toronto pet licences and microchips and a rabies vaccine for only $25 for cats and $35 for dogs. 2017 dates coming soon.
We sterilize and ear tip feral cats from managed colonies. Cats are returned to their original colony locations by their caretakers after they have recovered from surgery. Learn more here.
Toronto Animal Services promotes the health and safety of people, pets and animals living together in Toronto communities through bylaw enforcement and mobile response.
We share the city with a wide variety of animals that have adapted to our urban environment. Find out how you can protect your property and live in harmony with the city's wildlife.
Our shelters are clean, busy and often happy places where people can find a new companion or be reunited with a lost pet.
Request a spay or neuter appointment, register your feral cat colony and learn more about vet services here.