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Members Encouraged to Participate in Winnipeg Consultation Re: Proposed Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw

As you may know, the City of Winnipeg is conducting a review of its 2013 Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw and seeks feedback from stakeholders on the proposed changes by the end of August 2021.

The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) supports the City’s efforts to improve animal and community safety that promotes responsible dog ownership and responsible breeding practices. We commend the City for proposing to remove breed specific provisions, in support of well-crafted dangerous dog measures. However, the proposed bylaw changes include areas of concern that will direly impact CKC member breeders and puppy owners.
They include:

1. Mandatory spay/neuter requirement for all dogs over 6 months of age (exemption for animals with an intact pet license, and specially title dogs i.e., Herding and Agility).
  • The details of these requirements are unclear. There are no provisions for those who would like to keep their dogs intact for all disciplines, breeding purposes, or pet owners who wish to wait until full physical maturity to spay or neuter their dogs.
  • There is misinformation that dogs that are not spayed/neutered can demonstrate aggressive behaviours and an urgency to roam. Many breeders and veterinarians do not advise early spay/neuter as studies indicate serious health and development implications.
  • Impounded unlicensed dogs would be required to be fixed prior to release. Any licenced dog that has escaped twice is fixed prior to release. This does not take into account unfortunate and isolated situations where an inadvertent or spooked dog (i.e., car accident or house fire) may accidentally escape.
2. The implementation of breeding permit requirement for dogs (and cats) that include:
  • Breeder’s history of responsible pet ownership, although the details of these requirements have not yet been identified.
  • Inspection of the breeding property. The proposed changes do not include any details about who will conduct the inspection, qualifications of inspectors, or inspection criteria. Inspectors would have excessive power and rights to enter private properties should they believe a dog is on the premises.
  • Limit of one litter per year, and no more than four litters over the life of the animal. Initial information from the proposal does not distinguish whether it is one litter a year per dog, or one litter a year per breeder. The proposal does not identify how these quantities and parameters were determined. Puppy litter sizes differ vastly depending on the breed and age of a female dog. In addition, volume is not in and of itself a predictor of substandard breeding.

CKC strongly supports dog bylaws that are reasonable, enforceable, and non-discriminatory. We believe that public education, awareness programs, stronger bylaw enforcement and stiffer penalties can effectively target irresponsible dog owners and substandard breeders, and protect the citizens of Winnipeg.

We strongly encourage members (within and outside the City of Winnipeg) to review the proposed updates and submit feedback using the template provided to and copy your local member of Council by August 31, 2021.

Your feedback will be used to refine the proposed bylaw, which will be presented to council in Winter 2021/22. Please visit the City of Winnipeg’s website for further details and thanks for your support!
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