The Dangerous Dog Review Tribunal is a local five-member board of the City of Toronto. The Tribunal was established under the authority of the City of Toronto Act and is conducted in accordance with the Statutory Powers Procedure Act. The chair and two panel members are present during a hearing. The panel listens to appeals of dangerous dog orders issued under section 15.1 of the Animals Bylaw.

Download a brochure on the Dangerous Dog Review Tribunal.

The Tribunal will determine the following:

  • Did a dangerous act occur?
  • Was the dangerous act committed by the dog in question?
  • Was the order issued in accordance with the bylaw?

The Tribunal has the authority to confirm the determination of a dangerous dog and uphold the dangerous dog order or rescind it and exempt the owner from all requirements of the order. The Tribunal does not have jurisdiction to exempt an owner from some or part of the requirements on a dangerous dog order.

The grounds of appeal are limited and the dog’s behaviour after the act is not considered during the appeal process.

The owner of a dog who is issued a dangerous dog order may request a hearing to appeal the order. The owner must submit an appeal as required by the Animals Bylaw.

A request for a hearing must be in writing and be mailed or delivered to the address that is listed on the order within 30 days of the issuance of the dangerous dog order. Owners must submit the applicable appeal fee and their written request must include:

  • the name, telephone number and address of the owner;
  • a statement of the reason(s) for the appeal and nature of the relief sought and
  • if applicable, the name, address and telephone number of the agent, representative or lawyer representing the owner.

Although a request for a hearing may be made, the order to comply (requirements) takes effect once the order is served and remain in effect until a hearing is held, and the Tribunal decides if the designation of a dangerous dog is confirmed or rescinded.

At an appeal hearing, both the dog owner and the City are welcome to present evidence. All documents and evidence must be disclosed to the other party and Tribunal no later than 14 days prior to the hearing. If a party fails to disclose a document or discloses it late, the Tribunal may disallow the document from being entered into evidence.

Hearings before the Tribunal are public and documents provided to the Tribunal will be made available upon request.

Although there are some similarities, the Dangerous Dog Review Tribunal hearing is different from a court hearing or trial. The purpose of a hearing is to determine whether the dangerous dog order was issued in accordance with the Animals Bylaw. The City and the dog owner will have provided the Tribunal with copies of all documents and evidence.

The only two possible outcomes of a hearing are:

  • the dangerous dog order gets confirmed, meaning that all requirements of the order remain, or
  • all requirements of the order are rescinded.

Parties appearing before the Tribunal are free to arrange for legal counsel, but this is optional, not required. If a party has been given a notice of a hearing and does not attend, the Tribunal may proceed in the absence of that party.

The Tribunal may provide their decision at the time of the hearing or provide a written decision within 15 days to both the dog owner and the City. The City will provide a copy of the letter to the victim or victim dog owner.

The fee to appeal a Dangerous Dog Order can be found in Chapter 441, Appendix C. Effective May 6, 2021, the appeal fee is to be reduced by 50 per cent where the resident meets all of the criteria set out below. The applicant must:

  • be a resident of the City of Toronto
  • be at least 18 years of age
  • be the owner of the subject dog
  • have a current licence for the dog
  • must have a household income of $50,000 or less
  • have appropriate documentation that demonstrates financial need

Learn more about the Dangerous Dog Review Tribunal.

Need to make a complaint about the Tribunal process? Visit Municipal Licensing & Standards – Complaints & Compliments.