The City of Toronto is reminding pet owners about their responsibilities and requirements for owning a dog in Toronto and emphasizing the importance of keeping their dog leashed and under control at all times.
There has been a recent surge in incidents involving dogs that are off leash including incidents involving children, pedestrians and cyclists. In 2022, there was a 39 per cent increase in the number of dog attacks and a 19 per cent increase in the number of altercations involving dogs and other animals. This year, the City has issued more than 44 dangerous dog orders and 168 written warnings for bylaw violations.
In Toronto, all dog owners are required to keep their dog leashed unless in designated off-leash areas. The leash cannot be longer than two metres and it must be attached to a collar or harness and held securely. Keeping a dog leashed helps to ensure the dog’s safety and protects the people and community around them. A leash will also help prevent dogs from getting lost, running into traffic, trampling sensitive vegetation, chasing wildlife or eating toxic substances.
Dog owners in Toronto are also required to:
• Purchase a City of Toronto pet licence and renew it annually. Licence tags must be worn at all times.
• Pick up their dog’s waste and dispose of it properly. The City has Green Bins for organic waste in all dog off-leash areas. In parks that do not have a Green Bin, residents should dispose of dog waste in garbage bins or take it home and place it in their Green Bin.
More information about owning a dog in Toronto is available on the City’s responsible dog ownership webpage.
Bylaw enforcement officers regularly monitor parks for off-leash dogs and respond to complaints and issues involving dogs. The goal is to educate people about why these rules are important for their dog and the community around them and to ensure compliance with City bylaws. The fine for allowing a dog to run off-leash, except in a designated off-leash area, is $365.
Toronto has more than 75 designated off-leash areas where dogs are permitted to run freely. See more information about off-leash areas including a list of locations.
People are responsible for their dog’s actions and should take precautions to prevent their dog from engaging in dangerous behaviour. Proper training, socialization and positive reinforcement are crucial for a dog’s well-being and will help ensure safer interactions with other dogs and people.
Residents are encouraged to report dangerous incidents involving dogs. The City needs people to come forward and share evidence in order to take enforcement action. More information on who to call and how the City responds to dangerous incidents is available on the City’s dog attacks or bites webpage.
Toronto is home to more than three million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture, innovation and climate action, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.