The recommendations outlined in the Updates to Chapter 349, Animals staff report were adopted by City Council on July 20.

The City reviewed the Animal Bylaw to improve the coexistence of humans and wildlife, to decrease nuisance behaviour and to enhance animal welfare.

The review aimed to modernize the rules related to the feeding of wildlife, pet licensing, and the ownership of rabbits, guinea pigs and pigeons. It also explored topics such as cosmetic procedures on pets and the feasibility of developing a list of animals that people can keep as pets.

About the Review

Feeding of Wildlife

Currently, intentional feeding of wildlife is only prohibited in City parks (Parks Bylaw), but not on other public or private properties in Toronto. The City is exploring the option to restrict most intentional feeding of wildlife on all private and public properties across Toronto.

The City would recommend the following circumstances to be exempt and allow the following:

  • Feeding of song birds and bird feeders on private property, where the property owner has given permission to do so
  • Leaving food as bait to trap a nuisance animal
  • Feeding of a managed colony of stray or feral cats
  • Feeding as part of a research program undertaken by a university, college or similarly provincially or federally recognized research institution

Many municipalities in Ontario currently restrict the feeding of wildlife, because it can be harmful to wildlife as well as humans and their pets. Feeding of wildlife can also cause various issues such as:

  • Animals becoming dependent on people feeding them
  • Animals losing their natural behaviour and fear of both humans and their pets, which increases the likelihood of human-wildlife and pet-wildlife conflict
  • Animals congregating in large numbers where they are being fed, which increases the likelihood of diseases and parasites being prevalent, resulting them being a nuisance to the area
  • Attracting of unwanted animals

Pet Licensing

All dogs and cats in Toronto need to be licensed and wear a tag. This licence must be renewed every year. The pet licence fees and licensing information are used to quickly and safely reunite lost pets with their owners, and the fees allow Toronto Animal Services to run important programs, such as providing care to stray and rescued animals, and to teach kids and teens about animal safety.  The City is exploring ways to enhance the current pet licensing system.

Responsible Pet Ownership for Pigeons, Rabbits, and Guinea Pigs

Currently, there are only few limitations and regulations around pigeon ownership in place in Toronto. The City is currently exploring adding additional regulations to the current bylaw, largely based on complaints received by the public.

City staff will be examining the existing rules around the sale of rabbits and guinea pigs, as well as the ownership of rabbits, guinea pigs and pigeons, and exploring bylaw changes, such as limiting the number  that are permitted to be owned in a single household.

Animals that People Can Keep as Pets

The City currently maintains a prohibited list of animals under Chapter 349. As part of this review, City staff will examine the merits and advantages of developing a positive list of animals that people can keep as pets to make the rules and guidelines easier to understand.

Cosmetic Surgeries on Pets

Cosmetic surgeries on pets, such as declawing of cats and tail docking of dogs, are currently still legal in Ontario. As part of this review, the City will examine the concerns raised related to the welfare of animals who undergo cosmetic surgery.

How to Get Involved

Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey. Your feedback was used to make recommendations on a variety of issues, and helped to inform the Updates to Chapter 349, Animals staff report.

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