TORONTO – Reports of animal cruelty and suffering prompted the city of Mississauga to create new rules governing how animals are kept in extreme weather.
“Leaving a dog out on a chain with no socialization, no interaction, and totally ignoring it for 24 hours a day is cruelty to animals,” says Councillor Pat Saito, chair of the Animal Standards of Care Committee.
More specifically, pet owners can no longer leave their animals out in extreme weather without adequate shelter. Extreme weather is defined as (but not limited to) whenever Environment Canada issues an alert or warning related to temperature, humidity, rain or hail.
Animal Services will decide if an outdoor shelter is adequate.
Pets can also no longer be tethered for more than four hours in a 24-hour period must also be visible to their owners at all times. The tether must be at least three metres or 9.84 feet long.
Some dog owners in Mississauga welcomed the changes.
“I completely agree because I see way too many animals being mistreated,” says Ronda.
But Asad Shah, a dog trainer and walker, questioned how such bylaws would be enforced.
“Common sense prevails over bylaws,” he said. “How are you going to implement something like that, how are you going to chalk a dog if it’s been four hours or three hours? It’s not like a car parked on the street.”
Saito says the system will be complaint driven, and should not cost extra as it will rely on the Animal Services officers already on the road investigating complaints.
It could, however, cost residents who run afoul of the bylaws.
“They may be taken to court, and if they are, it will be the fines set by the judge in that case,” says Saito
Most of the bylaw changes come into effect on December 1.