Can YOUR pets get you fined?

Show me those Pearly-whites, Poop.

There are many reasons to have pets. Companionship, blood pressure, exercise, comedy, unconditional love and perhaps the most important, bed warmer! In many ways it is easier to have a pet than a husband (or so I have been told), but how much research do you do before getting a pet? I am sure you look up the breed, cost, potential health problems, maybe even the history of the animal but how many look at the cities By-Laws?

By-Law No. 71-2011 is a By-Law to provide for the registering, licensing, restricting and prohibiting the running at large of Dogs, Cats and Animal within the City of St. Thomas/Animal Control Bylaw. If you wish to read it, it can be found the new and gorgeous website, It is a small, 15 page, document that covers pet ownership within the city limits and is an incredibly interesting read. Allow me to point out a couple sections I personally found interesting.

2.5 No leash shall exceed 1.8 metres in length.

That is 6 feet in length. As a dog owner, did you know that? It doesn’t say if it applies to those extending leashes but if it does…… it’s a $105 fine!

2.23 Notwithstanding the definition of Running at Large in this By-law the following Animals, namely Pythons, Boa Constrictors, Venomous Snakes and Scorpions shall also be deemed to be Running at Large when observed on the person of an individual having apparent care and control thereof, if found in any highway, sidewalk, park or other public place or if found on any privately owned property without the consent of the owner of that property.

Personally, if I see a python, boa constrictor or scorpion running, or slithering, around St. Thomas, I am pretty sure I would do two things. One would be to presume it has escaped and is to be considered wild, and two, that I would run away screaming like a little girl! There is no mention of fine for any of these animals found in the wild but I am sure it would be fair!

3.2 No Building Containing One Dwelling Unit, which is occupied by the Dwelling Unit Owner in the City of St. Thomas shall, be used for the keeping of more than three Dogs or three Cats nor a combination thereof totalling more than three.

This means that if you have more than four cats and dogs in total, you are in danger of both a $105 fine and a lot of poop to clean up! Old women who share their home with lots of cats must be living in fear of being fined big time!

3.8 No person shall keep, or permit to be kept, more than six rabbits on any privately owned property within the City of St. Thomas.

Obviously this was written by someone who has never owned more than one rabbit.

4.1 Every person who is the Owner of a Dog or Cat over twelve weeks of age and who is residing temporarily or permanently within the City of St. Thomas shall cause such Dog or Cat to be registered with the City before the 15th day of February in each year, or within 7 days from the date on which such Dog or Cat is acquired by such person or from the date when the Owner becomes a resident of St. Thomas, whichever occurs first, upon registration the Owner shall procure from the City, or an authorized agent of the City, a licence for such Dog or Cat, which licence shall expire on the 31st day of December in the year in which the same is issued.

So if you have a cat who is a house cat, who never leaves the house, it should still be registered with the city. I cannot help but wonder if a black and white animal has a cheaper license!

6.1 No person shall keep or permit to be kept within the City of St. Thomas bees, a horse, cow, donkey, mule, pig, goat, sheep, goose, turkey, guinea fowl, chicken, duck, emu, rhea, ostrich, alpaca, lama, family Elphantidae, venomous reptile, snake longer than 60 cm., reptiles longer than 30 cm. from nose to vent, family Felidae (excepting Felis catus), fox, wolf, skunk, raccoon or any wild Animal native to Canada, or no more than one of any of these Animals, nor any combination thereof.

Yes, you read that right, you cannot keep any member of the elephant family in St. Thomas. Is it only me who finds this incredibly ironic considering the history of St. Thomas? The fine is , of course, $105. I always wanted a small cute hedgehog. Keeping it in the hedgehog tank should be just fine.

I noticed that failure to compley with by-law 2.6 Failing to forthwith remove/dispose of Dog/Cat/Animal excrement is finable with $105. I wonder how much more expensive this would be if we were able to keep Elephants.

The above is an attempt at humourous commentary. I am not, and would not, suggest that By-Law 71.2011 is anything but fair. I am simply sharing my thoughts.

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One comment

  1. Thank you for posting that and letting people know that they should licence their pets and also clean up after them! The other advantage to licencing their cats and dogs is that if their dog does get out and is turned in anywhere they can be returned home quickly because their address is on file! That in itself is worth the licence fee!!!! :)