At its meeting of March 28-29, City Council repealed section 8.1 of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 349, Animals. This means that the total ban on the use of choke collars, choke chains and pronged collars is no longer in effect.
However, the new bylaw that came into effect on March 1, 2017, prevents the use of a choke collar, choke chain or pronged collar for tethering your dog. According to the OSPCA, tethering a dog using choke collars, chains or pronged collars can bring physical harm to the dog and can be dangerous if the tether becomes tangled on other objects. It also leads to increased stress levels and aggression in dogs.
City staff have been directed to undertake consultations regarding the use of choke and pronged collars with veterinarians; experts and professionals involved with the humane and ethical treatment of dogs; residents who rely on service dogs; residents with mobility issues; dog trainers; dog groomers and the general public.
Staff will report back to Licensing and Standards Committee on September 18, 2017.
Pets in the City: Dangerous Dogs
The City of Toronto has amended Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 349 (Animals) to balance, manage and address dog owners' responsibilities, dog behaviour, protect the safety of people and their pets and public safety city-wide. The amendments have introduced restrictions and requirements for owners of a dangerous dog, as well as tougher penalties to deal with owners of dangerous 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 is the subject of a notice of caution, 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.
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.
- Obtain a microchip for the dog.
- Consent to have a photograph of the dog on file.
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 anywhere in the city (sidewalks, parks) 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 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. Martingale collars, which are consider a humane choke collar are still permitted.
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 give 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.
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.