July 20, 2022
Toronto City Council today adopted amendments to modernize the Animal Bylaw, which include prohibiting the feeding of wildlife, limiting the number of domestic guinea pigs, rabbits and pigeons to person may keep and other amendments to support the welfare of animals and wildlife.
The bylaw amendments include:
- Prohibiting the feeding of wildlife in Toronto, with some exceptions such as feeding songbirds using bird feeders
- Limiting the permitted number of guinea pigs and rabbits to be owned to four per household
- Limiting the number of domestic pigeons owned per property to 30, with allowances for an increase to 50 during the breeding season between April to October
- Allowing dog owners 24 hours to remove dog waste from their property
- Ensuring pets who are kept outdoors have adequate shelter to keep them safe during extreme weather conditions
Cats continue to be permitted outdoors and are not required to be leashed. A committee recommendation that required cats to be kept indoors and kept on a leash when outdoors was rejected by the Council.
All cats and dogs in Toronto are required to have a valid pet license that must be renewed annually. A microchip for cats and dogs is also strongly encouraged. More information is available on the City’s Pet Licensing webpage.
Currently, feeding wildlife is prohibited in all City parks. As of April 1, 2023, feeding wildlife will be prohibited across Toronto and on private properties. Feeding wildlife can lead to public safety issues and negatively affect wildlife and the broader ecosystem. It is also the most prevalent cause of any conflict between wild canids (ie coyotes, foxes) and humans and their pets. A public education campaign will be launched in the fall of 2022 to educate residents about the new regulations around feeding wildlife and why it is harmful to wildlife and leads to conflicts with humans.
The new rules around the limits to the number of guinea pigs and rabbits permitted to be owned will go into effect on December 1, 2022. However, the limitation will not apply to rescue groups caring for rabbits, guinea pigs or pigeons. Residents with more than four guinea pigs or rabbits as of December 1, 2022 will be permitted to keep up to 10 pets for their lifespan. All other bylaw amendments come into effect immediately. City staff will work with owners to educate them about the new rules, ensure compliance and support the welfare of their pets.
The City has also introduced new fees and amended existing fees related to animal impoundment, surrender and protective care. This includes:
- For seized prohibited animals, an impose fee of $140 plus the cost incurred by the City to house the animal
- For a domestic animal that is not a cat or dog, an impose fee of $30 for the first 24 hours and $10 for each subsequent day
- For a domestic animal, a surrender fee of $59.06 if weighing more than 45 kg or $35.43 if less than 45 kg
- For the protective care of a domestic animal other than a cat or dog, a fee of $40 for the first 24 hours and $10 for each subsequent day
The Animal Bylaw Review responded to Council directives and the amendments were recommended after comprehensive research and extensive stakeholder consultations. As part of this work, the City reviewed best practices from other municipalities, obtained feedback through a public survey and third-party public opinion research, and conducted analysis of licensing, complaint and enforcement data. More information is available on the City’s Animal Bylaw Review webpage.
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