Toronto unveils new dangerous dog rules. Here’s what to expect

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Toronto unveils new dangerous dog rules. Here’s what to expect
Owners of dangerous dogs will now have new rules to follow as the city cracks down following multiple attacks since 2022. Kayla McLean reports – Apr 24, 2024

Owners of dangerous dogs in Toronto will have new rules to follow as the city tightens its leash given multiple attacks in recent years.

The city unveiled Wednesday a new suite of rules following their approval at city council in March.

Starting Wednesday, and for the next month, city staff will visit owners of all dogs who have received a dangerous dog order. There are currently 373 dangerous dog orders in place across the city.

Here is what to expect.

New sign must be posted on property

These dog owners will get a new, standardized sign that must be visibly posted on their property, the city said in a news release Wednesday.

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“City staff will also remind owners of the requirements of their dangerous dog order. Visits will be prioritized based on severity of the incidents,” the city said.

“If there is non-compliance with any part of the order, enforcement action will be taken which may include fines of up to $615 or a court-issued fine of up to $100,000 upon conviction.”

Click to play video: 'Toronto woman charged over dog attack'
Toronto woman charged over dog attack

The city added that staff will continue to conduct regular checkups and respond to complaints to ensure continued compliance.

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In addition to the new sign, dangerous dog owners must have them muzzled when they are in public, obtain a dangerous dog tag, provide socialization and training to their dogs and not use dog off-leash areas.

Dangerous dog incidents

Following an increase in dog attacks since 2022, which included serious maulings of an East York woman in 2023 and a young boy last month by dogs already under dangerous dog orders, Toronto Animal Services launched a review of current procedures and processes.

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In March, council approved program improvements that included increased enforcement, a public list of dangerous dogs, a standard dangerous dog warning sign and access to discounted dog training for those with dangerous dogs who cannot afford training.

Click to play video: 'Changes to Toronto’s Dangerous Dog Registry'
Changes to Toronto’s Dangerous Dog Registry

Council also asked Ontario to amend the Dog Owners’ Liability Act to strengthen how dog maulings are dealt with.

“If residents observe a dog they believe to have a dangerous dog designation without its muzzle or in an off-leash dogs park, a complaint can be made to 311 and the matter will be investigated,” the city said.

“The city encourages people to share evidence (such as photographs, videos or written descriptions) to help with enforcement actions.”

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