Responsible Animal Ownership By-law

What is the purpose of the by-law?

The Responsible Animal Ownership By-law includes all animals and promotes responsible animal ownership.


At what age does my dog need a licence?

Dogs four months of age and older are required to be licensed.


How many dogs can I have?

Maximum three dogs per premise.


How many cats in total can I have?

Maximum of five cats per premise.  If your property is zoned agricultural under the Zoning By-law, you are allowed more than five cats on your premises.


What are the kennel licence requirements?

A kennel must meet the requirements in the Responsible Animal Ownership By-law and the Zoning By-law. The kennel must be in an agricultural zone. No part of a kennel is permitted closer than 200 m (656 feet) to any existing dwelling. See Section 6 of the by-law for more details. Visit our Kennel Licence page for more information on how to apply for a kennel licence.


Does the by-law address animals at large?

  • Yes. Dogs or other animals, other than cats, should not be allowed to run free at large except when on a premises owned or occupied by the owner, or on the premises of a person who has given prior consent.
  • Dogs that are not restricted pit bulls, designated as dangerous or potentially dangerous may also run free off-leash under the owner's control in an off-leash recreation area (off-leash dog park) or when lawfully used for hunting.

Does the by-law cover removal of dog excrement?

Yes. All dog owners are responsible to remove and sanitarily dispose of excrement left by the dog anywhere within the municipality.


Are animal tethers permitted?

Animals are not allowed to be tied up 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. Animals are not allowed to be left unattended in a motor vehicle if the weather conditions are not suitable. See Section 11 of the by-law for more details.


Does the by-law deal with dangerous dogs and potentially dangerous dogs?

If an animal control officer deems a dog potentially dangerous or dangerous there may be several conditions required 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 within 30 days of receiving the designation/order.


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 potbelly 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 Zoning By-law.


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 Zoning By-law.


Are lizards and snakes permitted?

Yes, if the snake or lizard doesn't produce any poison, venom or toxin while in captivity that could cause harm to human health. In addition, the snake must measure under three metres in length. Lizards must not exceed two metres in length. See Section 15.1 of the by-law - Squamata.


Are snakes and lizards permitted to be in public places?

No. However, there are some exceptions, which are listed under Section 3.2 of the by-law.


Can a person keep an animal that produces poison, venom or toxin?

No. You are not allowed to keep an animal that produces any poison, venom or toxin while in captivity that could cause harm to human health. Section 15.2 of the by-law.


Who can I contact for more information?

Please email cklicensing@chatham-kent.ca or call 519-360-1998 for questions or concerns.