Community-Based Solutions to Managing Companion Animal Populations

Public health and safety are fundamental concerns for every municipality. Incidents involving companion animal overpopulation or dangerous companion animals are becoming commonplace and are creating expectations for local governments to address these issues. Animal welfare agencies such as rescues and shelters are being overwhelmed by the demands being put on them by municipalities that have not taken responsibility for the animals within their jurisdiction.  Municipalities have a responsibility to address the root causes of animal-related issues in their communities. Some pet owners are unaware or neglectful of their responsibilities to their pets or allow their pets to annoy their neighbours or harass wild animals that share the environment. This can result in dog bites, threats to people or animals, damage or contamination of property, pet overpopulation, abuse or neglect of animals and other consequences. The solution involves effective legislation and education that encourages responsible pet ownership.

In addition to the benefits of public safety and satisfaction, practical and progressive animal control bylaws should be cost effective for the municipality. Irresponsible pet owners cost taxpayer’s money, and these costs can be offset by licensing fees, fines for bylaw offenders and other regulations that encourage responsible pet ownership.

Animal control should be a municipal responsibility and be governed by municipal bylaw.  Municipalities may enact bylaws respecting wild and domestic animals and activities in relation to them. This provides those municipalities with the ability to regulate or prohibit a class or classes of animals within the municipality. There are provisions respecting dangerous animals in The Municipalities Act, which applies to municipalities other than cities and northern municipalities.

Municipalities may implement effective bylaws regulating companion animals in their jurisdictions. These bylaws can include:

  • Animal control, including language to address dangerous dogs, exotic animals, animal licensing and identification, urban livestock, livestock protection, hoarding, community cat colonies and basic standards of animal care.
  • Waste and attractant management, to address unintentional feeding of wildlife or companion animals.
  • Business licensing, including licensing standards for animal breeders, boarders, service providers and pet stores.


The Animal Protection Act 2018 http://www.publications.gov.sk.ca/freelaw/documents/english/Chapters/2018/A21-2.pdf  from www.publications.gov.sk.ca. (2018).

The Municipalities Act http://www.publications.gov.sk.ca/freelaw/documents/English/Statutes/Statutes/M36-1.pdf from www.publications.gov.sk.ca. (2018).

The Municipalities Regulations http://www.publications.gov.sk.ca/freelaw/documents/English/Statutes/Statutes/M36-1.pdf from www.publications.gov.sk.ca. (2018).

The Cities Act http://www.publications.gov.sk.ca/freelaw/documents/english/Statutes/Statutes/c11-1.pdf from www.publications.gov.sk.ca. (2018).

The Northern Municipalities Act, 2010 http://www.publications.gov.sk.ca/freelaw/documents/English/Statutes/Statutes/N5-2.pdf from www.publications.gov.sk.ca. (2018).

The Dangerous Dogs Control (Northern Saskatchewan) Regulations http://www.publications.gov.sk.ca/freelaw/documents/English/Regulations/Repealed/N5-1R9.pdf from www.publications.gov.sk.ca. (1996).

City of Regina Bylaw No. 2009-44
http://open.regina.ca/dataset/9ad4024f-9baf-4878-acf1-03eeb732aefd/resource/456d2b6e-6442-4229-b225-595398856270/download/2009-44c16.pdf from www.regina.ca. (2016).

This information is not a substitute for legislation dealing with animal control. It is advisable to consult a solicitor on more complex situations. Please ensure the legislation you are referring to is the most up to date version.

An Enlightened Approach to Companion Animal Control for Canadian Municipalities. https://www.canadianveterinarians.net/documents/an-enlightened-approach-to-companion-animal-control-for-canadian-municipalities 

New Model Animal Responsibility Bylaws
https://spca.bc.ca/programs-services/working-for-better-laws/model-municipal-bylaws/. Available on request from www.spca.bc.ca. (2017).

Sample Municipal Bylaw Regulating the Keeping and Controlling of Companion Animals http://www.ncac-cnac.ca/policies%20and%20positions%20-%20ncac%20sample%20bylaw%20eng.june%202007.pdf from www.ncac-cnac.ca. (2007).

Reducing the Impact of Cats on Birds and Wildlife. Retrieved from https://www.stewardshipcentrebc.ca/PDF_docs/CatsBirds/SPGuide_ReducingImpactCatsBirdsWildlife2016.pdf from www.stewardshipcentrebc.ca. (2010).

For more information on responsible pet ownership practices and legislation regarding control of dangerous animals and your municipality’s animal control bylaws please contact your municipal office.