In March 2017, the City of Toronto updated their by-laws on how they deem a dog to be dangerous. Instead of using breed specific legislation, the city of Toronto will decide on a case by case whether a dog is sanctioned as a Dangerous Dog. When dogs are deemed a dangerous dog they must wear a muzzle when outside their home.

In some countries and territories they will enforce a ruling based on breed specific as such they can deem certain breeds as a dangerous dog. Certain breeds like Pitbull, Rottweiller, Doberman are automatically pooled into this group as a dangerous dog not based on their behaviour simply because they are a specific breed. Such breeds are then required to wear a muzzle in public just because the breed is deemed to be dangerous.

Does the breed really matter?

Personally speaking while I am out walking a dog that people perceive to be a dangerous dog they behave very differently. People will cross the street when they see us coming, give us a wide birth on the sidewalk or simply freeze against a wall until we pass. Yet nobody has such a reaction why they see me walking with a Labrador Retriever and yet they place #3 in the list of the 2017 Dangerous Dogs in Toronto. Labrador Retrievers are consistently in the Top 5 Dog bite list across the United States and Canada.

2017 Toronto Dangerous Dog List

There were 151 dogs deemed as dangerous by the city of Toronto from March to December 2017. These 151 dogs are attacks by dogs to humans. In the same period there were 694 dog to human bites per Toronto.ca

TOP 10 DANGEROUS DOGS MARCH – DECEMBER 2017, # INCIDENTS

  1. GERMAN SHEPHERD –  26
  2. ROTTWEILLER – 21
  3. LABRADOR RETRIEVER – 11
  4. AMERICAN BULLDOG – 9
  5. CANE CORSO – 7
  6. BOXER – 7
  7. MASTIFF – 5
  8. SIBERIAN HUSKY – 5
  9. ALASKAN HUSKY – 5
  10. BEAGLE – 4

How a Dog is deemed Dangerous?

A dangerous dog is a dog who has committed a dangerous act towards a human or a domestic animal  The city will complete a detailed investigation of the incident by reviewing a report of the incident provided by the injured party and the dog owner, review photographs of the injury, any medical reports, review witness statements and any other relevant details.

Per the TORONTO MUNICIPAL CODE CHAPTER 349, ANIMALS a dangerous act and a dangerous dog is defined as:

  • DANGEROUS ACT – Any bite, attack, act of menacing behaviour or any combination of a bite,
    attack or act of menacing behaviour. [Added 2017-01-31 by By-law 102-20174]
  • DANGEROUS DOG – A dog that has been determined to be a dangerous dog pursuant to § 349-
    15 and that determination has not been rescinded pursuant to § 349-16. [Added 2017-01-31 by
    By-law 102-20175]

The code states that it is the owners responsibility to do everything possible to stop their dog from engaging in a dangerous act. If your dog has been reported for a bite and it is the first time the incident is reported and the bite was not severe it is possible that the officer will serve you with a written warning, subsequent reports will deem your dog a dangerous dog. If the injury was severe then you will receive an order to comply with rules for a dangerous dog listed below. If your dog was acting in self defense in the officers opinion then the dog will not be deemed a dangerous dog.,

How to Report a Dangerous Dog?

The person who was attacked is asked to report the bite/attack to the city of Toronto by calling 311. If you are the injured party at the scene of the incident record a description of the dog and the owners name and address. As soon as possible record in writing all details of the attack.

Once a dog has bitten they are immediately required to isolate their dog from the public until a health inspector has reviewed the quarantined dog which is generally 24 hours after the incident. If the dog is not accompanied by a person animal control will respond within 2 hours.

For more information on how to report a dog bite visit Toronto,ca

My Dog has been deemed a Dangerous Dog, what now?

If it is the enforcement officers opinion that the damage was severe they will deem your dog a dangerous dog you must comply with the following:

  • Muzzle your dog while out in public and off your property
  • Not allow your dog in a designated city off leash area
  • Have your dog wear a dangerous dog tag
  • Post a dangerous dog warning sign on your property
  • Microchip your dog
  • Receive training for dangerous dog
  • Permit of photography of dangerous dog

Failure to comply with any of the above requirements will result in a $615 for each non compliance. As the owner of the dangerous dog you are 100% responsible for all costs for the life of the dangerous dog. You also have the right to appeal the decision but you must comply until you receive the hearing and final decision.

To find out more information on the dangerous dog act visit Toronto.ca

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