Responsible Pet Ownership

Responsible Animal Ownership By-law

Animal Services may be coming to your door!

Animal Services Licensing Officers are going door to door to educate the dog owners on their responsibilities to purchase licences for their dogs. These Officers will be in uniform and carrying photo identification. 


Hamilton's Responsible Animal Ownership By-law No. 12-031 (PDF, 963 KB) ensures the health and safety of residents, protects property and prevents public issues.

Highlights of the By-law

The Responsible Animal Ownership By-law talks about:

  • Dog licensing
  • Roaming animals or owned animals ‘at large’
  • Cleaning up after your animal
  • Designating potentially dangerous and dangerous dogs
  • Prohibiting exotic animals
  • Rural and urban regulations
  • Pet limits- four domestic animals per house in urban areas
  • Prohibiting urban chickens
  • Where and how an animal may be housed to make sure it’s healthy and safe

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Zero Tolerance' dog license enforcement program

Hamilton has a Zero Tolerance dog licence enforcement program. Any person who owns, has custody of or keeps an unlicensed dog may be charged under the Provincial Offences Act. Fines start at $180 and go up to $10,000.