Policy, Research, Public Consultation and Events

Survey Summary

Responsible Dog Ownership & Mitigating the Risks of Dangerous Dog - November 2016

About the Review

Municipal Licensing and Standards is currently reviewing Chapter 349, Animals, to determine how the City can effectively balance, manage and address dog behaviour, owner responsibility and public safety in the City of Toronto.

This report proposes amendments to Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 349, Animals to better prevent dog bites, mitigate risks associated with dangerous dogs and hold owners responsible for their dog.

Proposed amendments include:

  • Adding definition of dangerous dog
  • Provisions for owners of dangerous dogs – muzzling, microchipping, special dog tags, signage, training
  • Owner can apply for a hearing to appeal the dangerous dog designation.
  • Three-hour maximum for tethering of dogs on private property - prohibition of choke collars, choke chains, pronged collars for tethering
  • Increased penalties – from a maximum $5,000 fine to a maximum of $100,000 (determined by the courts)
  • Dog must be adequately protected during extreme weather
  • Provide Toronto Animal Services' staff the authority to go on private property to enforce animal bylaws
  • Increased public education

These amendments were presented during the September 21, 2016 Licensing and Standards Committee meeting.

Following the meeting, a survey including questions brought up at the meeting was open from September 26 to October 26 to provide an opportunity for further comments. 

 

What We Heard

Survey details and summary

From September 26 to October 26th, the survey was circulated through the City's social media, Councillor's offices, dog owner associations and their social media groups, neighbourhood and resident associations, Canadian Kennel Club, and Woofstock.

The survey was open from September 26 to October 26, 2016. Approximately, 67% of identified as dog owners. Ninety-seven percent of respondents were aware that the owner of a dog is responsible if their dog bites another animal or a person.

There were more than 5,000 respondents to the survey, the majority of which supported the proposed changes.

Detailed results are found below.

Survey Highlights

The following proposed amendments were supported by the majority of survey respondents:

  • New definitions for dangerous dog, dangerous act, attack and menace are supported by the majority
  • Provisions for owners of dangerous dogs – muzzling, microchipping, special dog tags, signage, training
  • Three-hour maximum for tethering of dogs on private property - banning of choke collars, choke chains, pronged collars for tethering

 

Survey Engagement Map

This map shows the number of surveys submitted and where the respondents live in Toronto.

Detailed Results - Graph data from the on-line survey

 

Do you own a dog?

 

Are you aware that the owner of a dog is responsible if their dog bites another domestic animal (pet) or a person?

 

The City is proposing to define a dangerous dog as:

- A dog that has severely bitten a person or domestic animal (pet);or

- A dog that has bitten or attacked a person or domestic animal (pet) and it is the second or subsequent bite or attack on record; or

- A dog that is the subject of a muzzle order under this bylaw or a control order under the Dog Owner's Liability Act.  

Would you support this definition?

 

The City is proposing to define "attack" as an act of aggression towards a person or domestic animal (pet) causing injury. Would you support this definition?

 

The City is proposing to define "menace" as a threat or possible danger to persons or domestic animals (pet). Would you support this definition?

 

An owner of a dangerous dog will be required to ensure that the dog is muzzled and leashed at all times when the dog is off the owner's property.

 

A dangerous dog will not be permitted in designated off-leash areas in parks.

 

Owners of a dangerous dog will be required to post a warning sign on their private property.

 

Owners of a dangerous dog will be required to have their dog wear a dangerous dog tag.

 

Owners of a dangerous dog will be required to provide proof of microchipping and a recent photo of the dog.

 

Owners of a dangerous dog will be required to provide to the City, proof of training for the dog and the owner.

 

The City proposes that dogs must not be tethered (tied up) on the owner’s property for any period longer than a total of three hours every calendar day.

 

The City is proposing that owners are no longer permitted to use choke collars, chains or pronged collars to tether (tie up) their dogs when on the owner’s private property.

 

Do you want the use of choke collars, chain or pronged collars banned completely?

 

Should the City consider adding any other provisions for responsible dog ownership or mitigating dangerous dogs in the bylaw?