7 Things Calgary Dog Owners Need To Know

EricBefore You Get A Puppy, Pet Ownership, Safety, Tips1 Comment

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Calgary Dog Owners

What Are Calgary's Dog Licensing Requirements?

If you are a seasoned Calgary dog owner or thinking about getting a dog, there are some important rules about getting a dog license that you need to follow:

  1. License Requirement: It's mandatory for all Calgary dog owners to have a valid and subsisting licence for their dogs. This rule ensures that all pets are accounted for and can be returned to their owners if lost.

  2. Age Exception: Puppies under 3 months old are exempt from this requirement, provided they haven't been found running at large and haven't been declared a Nuisance or Vicious Animal.

  3. License Administration: Animal Services is authorized to issue, renew, or revoke various types of licences, including those for altered (spayed or neutered) and unaltered dogs, as well as special licences for Nuisance and Vicious Animals. Owners must apply for these licences in accordance with the bylaw's stipulations.

  4. Application Process: Applicants for a dog licence must be at least 18 years old, provide accurate information about the dog (including breed, name, gender, and age), and supply contact information. If applying for an altered animal licence, proof of spaying or neutering is required.

  5. Honesty and Updates: Providing false information during the application process is prohibited. Owners must promptly inform Animal Services of any changes to the information provided on the application.

  6. Non-transferability and Exemptions: Licences are not transferable between owners or animals. Service dogs and guide dogs, as defined by regulations, are required to be licensed but are exempt from licence fees.

  7. Tag and Renewal: Licensed dogs must wear their Tag, especially when off the owner's property, to show they have a valid licence. Owners are responsible for renewing their dog's licence on time and notifying the City of any contact information changes.

  8. Replacement and Rebates: If a Tag is lost, the owner must contact the Animal Services Centre for a replacement and pay the corresponding fee. While licence rebates are generally not available, Animal Services may offer two-year licences at a cost equal to twice the annual fee.

How much Are Calgary's Dog License Fees?

Fee description 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026
Male or Female Unaltered Dogs $68 $69 $70 $70 $71
Neutered Male or Spayed Female Dogs $43 $43 $44 $44 $45
All Unaltered Dogs Under the Age of 6 Months at the Time the Licence is Purchased $43 $43 $44 $44 $45
Vicious Animal Licence Fee $300 $305 $310 $310 $315
Nuisance Animal Licence Fee $119 $121 $123 $123 $125

Where And When Must Dogs Be Leashed in Calgary?

It's crucial to know when and where your dog should be on a leash in Calgary to keep both your pet and the community safe. Here’s what the bylaw says about keeping dogs under control:

  1. Keeping Dogs on a Leash: Calgary dog owners should must make sure your dog isn't running around freely where it shouldn't be. This means keeping your dog on a leash in most public places to prevent it from wandering.

  2. Off-Leash Areas: There are specific areas in parks, known as Off-Leash Areas, where your dog can roam freely without a leash. But, this is only okay if the park or part of the park is clearly marked as an off-leash area.

  3. Signs for Off-Leash Areas: If there's no sign indicating an off-leash area, you need to keep your dog on a leash. This helps ensure everyone's safety and enjoyment of public spaces.

  4. Non-Dog Animals in Off-Leash Areas: Only dogs are allowed in off-leash areas. Other pets should not be brought into these zones to avoid conflicts or issues.

  5. Control in Off-Leash Areas: Even in an off-leash area, your dog must be under control at all times. This means your dog should listen to your commands and not behave aggressively or cause problems.

  6. Definition of Control: A court can decide if your dog was under control based on several factors, like if your dog listens to you, hasn’t bitten or chased anyone, or hasn’t damaged property.

  7. Limit on Number of Dogs: You can't have more than 6 dogs off-leash in an off-leash area at the same time to ensure the area remains manageable and safe for everyone.

  8. Handling Problematic Behavior: If your dog shows threatening behavior, you must immediately put it on a leash (no longer than two meters) and take it out of the off-leash area.

Additional Considerations

The bylaw also addresses the behavior of pets and owners in more nuanced situations, such as cycling or skateboarding with pets on a leash, which is generally prohibited to prevent accidents and ensure the safety of pathway users. Additionally, pet owners are advised against leaving their pets unattended in public spaces or in vehicles under conditions that could pose a risk to their health.

How Many Dogs Can you Own in Calgary?

Being a good dog owner is not just about providing a loving home for your furry friends; it's also about adhering to specific regulations designed to ensure the well-being of the animals and the community. One such regulation pertains to the number of dogs and cats a person can own.

Calgary Dog Ownership Limits

The City of Calgary sets clear limits on the number of dogs and cats over three months of age that can be owned or reside in a single dwelling unit:

  • A maximum of six (6) dogs and six (6) cats is allowed per household.

Exceptions to the Rule

However, there are exceptions to these limits:

  • Owners can apply for an Excess Animal Permit, which, if granted by the Animal Services, allows them to have more than the stipulated number of animals.
  • If an owner had more animals than allowed before this bylaw came into force and had them licensed, they could keep their pets under the condition that they do not foster, adopt, breed, or purchase more animals.
  • The limits do not apply to veterinary clinics and not-for-profit animal rescue organizations that are incorporated under the laws of Alberta.

Excess Animal Permits

Animal Services may issue Excess Animal Permits to:

  • Breeders
  • Persons fostering an animal under the supervision of a not-for-profit organization that rescues and adopts out animals
  • Any other persons who, in the opinion of Animal Services, reasonably require a permit

How Should You Handle Nuisance And Aggressive Behavior?

Managing nuisance and aggressive behavior in pets is a serious responsibility for all Calgary dog owners. The city's bylaws outline specific duties to ensure that pets do not become a public or private nuisance. Here's how you should handle such behaviors:

  1. Removing Excrement: If your pet defecates on any property other than your own, it is your duty to remove the feces immediately. This rule ensures public and private spaces remain clean and sanitary.

  2. Noise Control: Pets, particularly dogs, should not bark, howl, or make any noise that disturbs others. The bylaw recognizes that what constitutes a disturbing noise can vary, and ultimately, a court may decide if a noise is objectionable.

  3. Scattering Garbage: Ensure your pet does not disturb waste receptacles or scatter their contents. This applies to public spaces as well as private properties not owned or possessed by the pet owner.

  4. Threatening Behaviors: Pets must not exhibit behaviors that threaten people or other animals. This includes biting, barking at, chasing, or causing damage or injury. Such behaviors are not permissible, whether they occur on the owner's property or elsewhere.

  5. Duty to Report Bites: If a pet bites a person or another animal, the owner must report the incident within 24 hours. This can be done by providing the owner’s and the pet’s details to the affected party or an officer, or by using The City’s 311 service by phone or online.

  6. Prohibition on Directing Attacks: Owners must not use or direct their pets to attack, chase, harass, or threaten people or other animals. Encouraging aggressive behavior is strictly against the bylaw.

the approach to managing aggressive dog behavior is detailed and comprehensive, aiming to protect both the community and the animals themselves. The City of Calgary's responsible pet bylaw outlines specific measures for dealing with dogs that exhibit vicious tendencies. Here's a breakdown of how the regulations work:

Identifying a Vicious Animal

The bylaw categorizes dogs as "Vicious Animals" based on certain behaviors or incidents. A dog may be designated as vicious if it severely injures a person or another animal, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe it poses a risk to public safety. This determination isn't made lightly; it involves a thorough assessment by the Director of Animal Services, including a review of any past incidents involving the dog.

Requirements for Vicious Animals and Their Owners

Once a dog is classified as vicious, its owner must adhere to strict guidelines to ensure the safety of the community. These include securing a Vicious Animal license, housing the dog in a secure pen or fenced area, and ensuring the dog is always under control when not on the owner's property. This means the dog must be muzzled and leashed by an adult when outside.

Owners are also required to display warning signs on their property, informing visitors of the presence of a vicious dog. Additionally, the dog must be tattooed or microchipped for identification, and if it hasn't been neutered or spayed, the owner must arrange for this to be done.

Additional Safety Measures and Conditions

The Director of Animal Services can impose extra conditions on the owner of a vicious dog. These might include modifying the property to prevent the dog from escaping, undergoing specific training, or obtaining liability insurance. The goal is to mitigate any risk the dog may pose to others.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

Owners who fail to comply with these regulations face significant repercussions, including the possibility of their dog being seized or even destroyed, according to the Dangerous Dogs Act. It's a stark reminder of the importance of responsible pet ownership and the city's commitment to public safety.

The Path to Appeal

Owners who disagree with the vicious designation or the imposed conditions have the right to appeal the decision. This process allows for a fair review, ensuring that all factors are considered before finalizing the dog's classification and any related requirements.

What Are Your Responsibilities for Animal Waste?

If your dog defecates on any public or private property other than the property of its owner (aka you), you must remove such feces immediately. The offence for the failure to remove animal faces is a fine of $300.

Are There Breed-Specific Provisions In Calgary?

In Calgary, the approach to managing dog behavior and safety eschews breed-specific legislation (BSL), a policy supported by the Calgary Humane Society. This decision is informed by a perspective that emphasizes individual dog behavior over breed-based stereotypes. The society's stance is grounded in the belief that responsible pet ownership, including breeding, training, and care, is more effective in preventing dog aggression than banning specific breeds.

The rationale behind opposing BSL is multifaceted. First, research has shown that a dog's breed is not a reliable indicator of its potential for aggression or danger to the community. Moreover, dog bite statistics and the nature of dog aggression incidents do not support the effectiveness of breed-specific bans. This viewpoint is further bolstered by the observation that media coverage of dog attacks often disproportionately highlights incidents involving breeds labeled as "bully breeds," such as Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Presa Canarios, potentially skewing public perception and calls for BSL.

Factors influencing a dog's behavior extend beyond its breed. These include genetics, the dog's socialization and training, its health and reproductive status, and how it is treated by its owner. The Calgary Humane Society points to key factors linked to dog attacks, including dogs being chained, roaming loose, not being spayed or neutered, and lacking adequate training, socialization, and companionship. Additionally, the dynamics within multiple-dog households can contribute to aggressive behavior, emphasizing the complexity of factors at play.

Data from the United States over a 40-year period underscores that fatal dog attacks are not predominantly breed-specific. A significant number of fatal attacks involve either a single dog in a multi-dog household or are incidents where multiple dogs are present, suggesting that the context in which dogs are kept plays a crucial role in their behavior.

Calgary's stance on dog management and safety, represented by the Calgary Humane Society's policy, underscores a holistic approach to addressing dog aggression. This approach prioritizes responsible pet ownership and individual dog behavior assessment over breed-based restrictions, advocating for a more nuanced and effective strategy in ensuring public safety.

What Happens If You Don't Follow the City of Calgary's Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaws?

Failing to comply with the City of Calgary's Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaws can lead to various consequences, aimed at ensuring public safety and the welfare of pets. The enforcement of these bylaws is taken seriously to maintain community standards and promote responsible pet ownership.

  1. Fines and Penalties: Non-compliance can result in fines of varying amounts, depending on the nature and severity of the violation. These fines serve as a financial deterrent to encourage adherence to the bylaws.

  2. Warnings and Notices: In some cases, pet owners may receive warnings or notices to correct their behavior before any financial penalties are applied. This approach aims to educate and inform pet owners about their responsibilities.

  3. Seizure of Pets: In extreme cases, especially when the welfare of the animal is at risk or if the pet poses a danger to the public, authorities may seize the pet. This measure is taken as a last resort.

  4. Legal Action: Persistent or severe violations may lead to legal action, where pet owners face charges under the bylaws. This could result in court appearances and potentially more significant penalties.

  5. Impact on Pet Ownership: Repeated violations can impact a person's ability to own pets in the future. In severe cases, individuals may be prohibited from owning pets for a specified period.

The city encourages pet owners to understand and follow these bylaws to avoid these consequences, ensuring a safe and harmonious environment for all residents and pets.

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