Responsible Animal Ownership By-law

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent's Responsible Animal Ownership By-law regulates animals in our municipality. Council approved this by-law on July 13, 2015.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the purpose of the new By-law?
The Responsible Animal Ownership By-law includes all animals whereas the previous By-law only regulated dogs. The new By-law promotes responsible animal ownership.

When does the new Responsible Animal Ownership By-law come into effect?
The by-law was effective as of July 13, 2015. However, Section 5.2 (cat limit) and sections 15.1 and 15.2 (prohibited) did not come into effect until July 13, 2016.

At what age does my dog need a licence?
Dogs 4 months of age or older are required to be licensed under the By-law.

How many dogs may I have?
Council increased the dog limit to 3 per premises in November 2013. This same limit applies in the new By-law.

How many cats in total may I have?
The by-law introduces a maximum of 5 cats in total except a person may keep more than 5 cats on premises zoned agricultural under the Municipality’s zoning by-law permitting such use.  This limit came into effect July 13, 2016.

What are the Kennel licence requirements?
A kennel must meet requirements in the By-law and municipal zoning By-law: kennels must be in an Agricultural zone and no part of a kennel is permitted closer than 200 m (656 feet) to any existing dwelling on a lot other than the lot on which such kennel is located. See Section 6 for more details.

Does the By-law detail how animals are to be housed?
Yes. Regulations have been added regarding where and how an animal may be housed to ensure its health and safety. See Section 6 for details.

Does the By-law address animals at large?
Yes. No owner of a dog or other animal, other than a cat, shall permit the animal to be at large, except when the animal is:

  • on premises owned or occupied by the owner; or
  • on premises owned or occupied by a person who has given prior consent

Additionally, dogs that are not restricted pit bulls, dogs designated as dangerous or dogs designated as potentially dangerous may also be at large:

  • under a competent person’s control in a Dog Off Lease Recreation Area; or
  • when lawfully used for hunting

Does the By-law cover removal of dog excrement?
Yes. Every owner of a dog shall remove forthwith and sanitarily dispose of excrement left by the dog anywhere in the Municipality.

Are animal tethers permitted?
An animal may not be tethered for longer than 9 hours in a 24 hour period. See Section 9 of the By-law for more details regarding tethering.

Does the By-law deal with Animals in Vehicles?
Yes. The owner of an animal shall not leave an animal unattended in a motor vehicle if the weather conditions are not suitable for containment of an animal. See Section 11 of the By-law for more details.

Does the By-law deal with Dangerous Dogs and Potentially Dangerous Dogs?
The By-law introduces a new category, of deeming a dog “potentially dangerous.” In the By-law if an animal control officer deems a dog potentially dangerous or dangerous there may be several conditions imposed to address the danger. See Section 12 of the By-law for further details.

If my dog has been deemed potentially dangerous or dangerous can I appeal this decision?
Yes, you may appeal to the By-law Appeal Committee, which is made up of Councillors.
Prohibited Animals – what is permitted in rural vs. urban areas?
See section 15 of the By-law for the list of animals that are prohibited.

Are pot belly pigs permitted in an urban area?
No. See section 15.1 of the By-law - Artiodactyla. They are only permitted on premises zoned agricultural under the Municipality’s zoning By-law which meet the zoning requirements.

Are pheasants, turkeys or chickens permitted in an urban area?
No. See section 15.1 of the By-law - Galliformes. They are only permitted on premises zoned agricultural under the Municipality’s zoning by-law which meet the zoning requirements.

Are rats and mice permitted?
See Section 15.1 – Rodentia.

Are lizards and snakes permitted?
Yes, if the snake or lizard doesn’t produce any poison, venom or toxin while in captivity that may cause harm to human health. In addition, the snake must measure under 3 metres in length and lizards must not exceed 2 metres in length. See section 15.1.

Are snakes and lizards permitted to be in public places?
No. However, there are some exceptions, which are listed under section 3.2 in the By-law.

Can a person keep an animal that produces poison, venom or toxin?
Section 15.2 states: No person shall keep or permit to be kept an animal that produces any poison, venom or toxin while in captivity that may cause harm to human health.

Who can I contact for more information?
Please email comments and concerns to: CKLicensing@chatham-kent.ca.