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Update Re: Ontario Standards of Care for Outdoor Dogs


As you may know, the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General recently proposed updates to the existing standards of care for dogs that live outdoors under the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act (PAWS Act) and held public consultations until March 7, 2022.

Following the consultation period, the updated standards of care for outdoor dogs were filed as an amendment to Ontario Regulation 444/19 (Standards of Care and Administrative Requirements) on April 19, 2022. The amending regulation can viewed at Ontario e-Laws and the updates are effective as of July 1, 2022.

The amended standards affect all dogs “kept outdoors” including “racing, hunting and field trial” dogs and impact requirements for outdoor dog houses, containment, food and water, grooming and nail care, and health and welfare maintenance.

During the consultation process, CKC expressed concerns about the proposed changes to minimum space required in a housing pen, maximum time on a tether and water consumption.

Please familiarize yourself with the amending regulation as further updates were made following the public consultations, including the following excerpts:

 
PROPOSED STANDARDS OF CARE DURING
PUBLIC CONSULTATIONS
NEW AMENDMENTS
EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2022
Minimum space required in a housing pen
If an owner or custodian pens a dog “kept outdoors” the housing pen must provide a minimum of nine (9) unrestricted square metres of space for one dog, and an additional five (5) square metres for each additional dog that is group housed.
  • An exception from the requirement for 5 square meters per additional dog would apply when a female dog is nursing their litter (until weaned).
** CKC stated that the update should take into consideration the height, weight, and breed of a dog, which would be more effective than a one-size-fits-all approach
 
4.4  (3) The size of a housing pen for a dog that is kept outdoors must meet the following minimum requirements:
1.  If the dog is under 20 cm in height, the total area of the housing pen must be at least four-square metres.
2.  If the dog is equal to or greater than 20 cm in height but under 40 cm in height, the total area of the housing pen must be at least six square metres.
3.  If the dog is equal to or greater than 40 cm in height but under 70 cm in height, the total area of the housing pen must be at least 10 square metres.
4.  If the dog is equal to or greater than 70 cm in height, the total area of the housing pen must be at least 15 square metres.
(4) For the purposes of subsection (3), a dog’s height shall be determined by measuring the height of the dog at its shoulder when it is standing at full height.
(5) If more than one dog is kept in a housing pen, the housing pen must provide at least the space required by subsection (3) for the tallest dog kept in the housing pen, plus a minimum of at least 1.5 additional square metres of space for every additional dog that is kept in the housing pen.
Standards of care for dogs tethered outdoors
Owner or custodian must ensure a dog that is on tether for more than 24 consecutive hours is provided with off-tether time of at least 30 minutes, with specific exceptions.
  • Exceptions where a dog is permitted to remain on the tether after 24 consecutive hours include: o   If the dog has, within the 24-hour period prior, participated in a racing or hunting and field trial event and requires rest as a result of participating in the event.
**CKC stressed that different breeds and sporting, performance and outdoor activities require varying mandatory rest periods and requested that provisions be made to accommodate such circumstances.
4. (1) A dog tethered outdoors for 23 hours in a 24-hour period, whether those 23 hours are consecutive or not, must be taken off the tether for at least 60 continuous minutes to allow for exercise and enrichment.
(2) The 60 continuous untethered minutes required by subsection (1) must be provided before the dog can be tethered outdoors again.
(3) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply if,
(a)  the dog has, within the previous 24-hour period, participated in a racing event, hunting event, field trial event or comparable event and requires rest as a result of participating in the event;

The new standards of care require that outdoor dogs have continuous access to unfrozen water, which can be difficult to maintain during the Canadian winter months. We recommend that dogs kept outdoors have clean, palatable water available to them at all times when practical and in consideration of all weather conditions.

While CKC supports the strengthening of legislation to ensure the health and safety of all dogs, we maintain that such changes must be reasonable and enforceable. Select amendments that will take effect in July are too prescriptive and cannot be met by all dogs. We continue to address this matter with the Ministry. If you have concerns regarding the new updates, please contact Solicitor General, Honourable Sylvia Jones at sylvia.jones@ontario.ca.

 
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