Municipal Legislation

In towns and cities across Canada, the main regulatory concern is related to the licensing and control of companion animals – mostly dogs and cats. Municipal bylaws can vary widely from one community to the next. Humane Canada has collaborated in producing guidelines for “enlightened” municipal bylaws, and in developing sample or model bylaws for the licensing and control of companion animals.

Recently, some cities across Canada have expanded their approach to animal control by considering options to regulate the acquisition of pets. Recognizing that the stray and abandoned pet problem is often perpetuated by the purchase of unsterilized, and sometimes unhealthy or aggressive animals, several municipalities have considered or are considering restrictions on the retail sale of animals. Some have discussed banning pet store sales of animals that haven’t been spayed or neutered; others want to ban retail trade of certain animals altogether. When purchasing an animal at a pet store, buyers have no way of seeing where the animal came from and under what conditions it was bred and raised. Many dogs and kittens sold at pet stores come from puppy or kitten mills.

Act Now!

If your town or city does not have an enlightened animal control bylaw, please share the resources on this website with your municipal council and urge them to strengthen their regulations accordingly.

Learn more about municipal animal control issues such as licensing and identification of pets, spay/neuter promotion, anti-roaming regulations and kennel licensing.

See the model animal control bylaw provisions developed by Humane Canada as part of the National Companion Animal Coalition.

Learn more about municipal restrictions on selling pets in stores.

To find out what bylaws exist in your community, you can contact your municipal councillor or your local SPCA or humane society.