Ministry of the
Solicitor General

About animal welfare

Animal protection

Animal Welfare

Cruelty to any animal is not tolerated in Ontario. If you think an animal is in distress or is being abused, call: 1-833-9-ANIMAL (264625).

What happens when you make a call

1

Service representatives at the Ontario Animal Protection Call Centre will connect you with an appropriate local contact.

2

Based on the situation, a call centre service representative may file an incident report for further investigation, if needed.

3

After an incident report is reviewed by an animal welfare inspector, they may investigate on-site or escalate it to police or other authorities, where appropriate.

Inspectors will work with local police, veterinarians, agriculture commodities and local humane societies to ensure animals remain protected while Ontario transitions to a more robust, transparent and accountable permanent animal protection system.

Penalties for violating the law

It is an offence to:

  • cause or permit distress to an animal
  • cause harm to a law enforcement animal
  • train or permit animals to fight other animals
  • own or possess equipment or structures used in animal fighting
  • fail to comply with standards of care applicable to most animals
  • obstruct an inspector.

Ontario has basic standards of care that apply to most animals to ensure they have:

  • adequate food and water
  • general and medical care
  • adequate environmental and social living conditions
  • protection from harm
  • humane treatment.

Ontario also has additional standards of care for animals in unique circumstances like dogs that live outdoors and marine mammals such as cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises), pinnipeds (walruses, sea lions) and sea otters. In addition, it is prohibited to possess and breed orcas (also known as killer whales) in Ontario.

Violating these laws can result in sentences that may include up to two years in jail, fines of up to $60,000, and a lifetime ban on animal ownership, as well as other penalties.

Our goal is to ensure that Ontario’s animals are protected and treated in the humane manner that the people of Ontario expect.

Animal Care Review Board

The Animal Care Review Board hears appeals from individuals whose animals have been seized or who have been issued orders.

Related legislation

Downloadable resources

animal Protection poster
Animal protection poster
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