Animal By-law

About the by-law

Animal Control By-law 066-2020 (PDF) protects the health and well-being of cats and dogs by promoting responsible pet ownership through licensing, vaccination and registration. It also promotes the humane treatment of all animals, both wild and domestic.

Animal Services staff standing in education booth





  • Residents must not feed wild animals or leave food or attractants outdoors, with the exception of feeding song birds on their property (with certain feeding requirements). Visit the urban wildlife page for more information.
    • Feeding of wildlife is the primary cause of animal/human conflict. Directly or unintentionally feeding a wild animal will increase their tolerance to people and pets as they begin to associate people with food. Reconsider bird feeders as they attract small mammals, which encourage larger wild animals to visit your yard.
    • Not only can feeding wildlife have unintended consequences, it is illegal and subject to a fine of $500 under the City’s Animal Control By-law 066-2020 (PDF).
  • Killing or restraining traps are not permitted to be left outdoors where any person, wild or domestic animal may come into contact with it, and leg hold traps are prohibited.
  • Wildlife cannot be relocated, unless otherwise permitted by law.
  • All cats and dogs must wear a licence (a numbered metal tag) at all times. Licences are available for purchase from the City and require a valid rabies certificate.
  • Licences must be renewed annually with all information, including the rabies vaccination certificate, kept current.
  • Animals impounded at the shelter must be implanted with microchip identification within 14 days after being claimed by their owner.


Running at large (unleashed), barking, and animal excrement


  • Pet owners must not allow their pets (including cats) to roam unleashed or trespass on public or private property.
  • Dogs must remain under the control of their handler at all times.
  • Pet owners must not allow their dogs to bark excessively or persistently.
  • Pet owners must always clean up and dispose of excrement left by their animal on public or private property.


Unattended animals


  • Animals cannot be left tethered and unattended.
  • If an animal is left unattended in a vehicle, the owner must ensure:
    • it is safely restrained and cannot make contact with anyone.
    • it is not left exposed to extreme temperatures or lack of ventilation


Care of animals


  • All animals must be provided with food, water, exercise, light, attention and
    veterinary care as required to maintain good health.
  • No animal is to be abandoned or permitted to be in distress.
  • Unless licensed as a kennel where breeding takes place, no animal is to be sold or adopted for money.
  • Animals must not be left outdoors in extreme weather (except for brief walks or brief periods of exercise) unless protected from the elements by an approved enclosure.


Number of pets


  • The total number of animals per household may not exceed six; with no more than three dogs or three cats.


Rules for off-leash zones


  • No dog under the age of four months is permitted.
  • Dogs must not be left unattended.
  • Dog owners must carry a leash for each dog.
  • Dog owners may bring up to three dogs per visit.
  • Dog owners must not bring any biting or menacing dogs or pit bulls.
  • Dogs must be spayed or neutered.


Pet shops


  • Pet shops may only source dogs and cats from:
    • municipal animal shelters
    • registered humane societies
    • rescue groups


Prohibited animals

Some animals that cannot be owned as pets in Vaughan, include:



  • Cattle, goats, sheep, pigs (except on lands zoned agricultural)
  • Coyotes, wolves, foxes, hybrid wolf/coy dogs, pit bulls
  • Servals, Savannah cats
  • Monkeys of any kind, lemurs
  • Raccoons, skunks



  • Chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese 
  • Birds of prey
  • Pigeons and doves (except licensed racing or fancier pigeons)



  • Alligators, crocodiles
  • Red-eared slider turtles
  • All snakes that reach an adult length longer than three metres
  • All lizards that reach an adult length longer than two metres, measured from snout to tip of tail



  • All venomous and poisonous animals, including rattlesnakes, cobras, scorpions and tarantulas


For a complete list of prohibited animals, please refer to Schedule “B” in the Animal Control By-law 066-2020 (PDF).



Complaints about infractions of the Animal Control By-law can be registered online, by phone at 905-832-2281, or in person at Vaughan Animal Services (shelter) or Vaughan City Hall.

Contact Information

By-law and Compliance, Licensing and Permit Services,

Animal Services


Phone: 905-832-2281
Toll-free: 1-855-227-7297 (PAWS)





Vaughan City Hall, Level 100
2141 Major Mackenzie Dr.
Vaughan, ON  L6A 1T1


70 Tigi Crt., Unit 47
Vaughan, ON  L4K 5E4