What is the role of the Ontario SPCA in the Dog Owners' Liability Act and Breed Specific Legislation?


The Ontario SPCA has been Ontario's animal welfare charity, focused on protecting animals, since 1873.

Since 1919, the Ontario SPCA has been under contract to the Government of Ontario to enforce provincial animal welfare legislation. Provincial animal welfare legislation falls under the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, and exists to provide protection to and standards of care for animals.

There are other pieces of legislation - municipal, provincial and federal that govern the treatment of animals, such as the Dog Owners' Liability Act which includes Breed Specific Legislation. The Dog Owners' Liability Act falls under the Ministry of the Attorney General. Such legislation falls outside of the scope of our mission in animal protection. When any piece of legislation is incongruent with the mission of the charity, the Ontario SPCA undertakes courses of action to protect the interests of animals and animal welfare. An example of this would include the safe transfer of an adoptable pit bull to a geographic area where pit bulls may be legally owned.

The Ontario SPCA does not participate in enforcing legislation that puts at risk the welfare of animals.

There are many agencies with the authority to enforce legislation. Where legislation conflicts with the mission of the charity, the Ontario SPCA declines to enforce such legislation or to participate in any process that is incongruent with the Society's status as a charity or its objectives of providing for the welfare of animals.

If you have concerns about the Dog Owners' Liability Act and/or Breed Specific Legislation, contact the Ministry of the Attorney General by calling‎ 1-800-518-7901 or emailing‎.

The Ontario SPCA has had the privilege of being Ontario's animal welfare charity for over 140 years. Our focus is animal welfare, animal protection and animal advocacy. Please join us in creating a more humane society.