Pets are important to Calgarians, and the bylaw helps create a safe environment for Calgary. Calgarians’ needs have changed since the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw was updated 12 years ago. An update to the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw ensures that The City of Calgary is reaching as many pet owners as possible and is creating effective compliance and education by recognizing new trends that will impact Calgarians and businesses. The bylaw is being reviewed as part of a Calgary Community Standards workplan item that came out of Service Plans and Budgets 2019 – 2022.

Goals for phase one engagement were:

  • Understand what Calgarians think is working with the current regulations, and what is not working.
  • Seek input on what else should be included in the Bylaw.

Goal for phase two engagement was:

  • Seek input on potential Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw amendments.


How did we get here?

Phase 1 engagement focused on reaching different stakeholders, including pet owners, people who do not own pets, City staff and pet industry representatives (e.g. veterinary clinics, businesses, pet daycares, pet sitters, dog walkers, animal rescue organizations, academics, breeders, kennels, other nearby municipalities, etc.).

Stakeholders provided a wide range of input into the following topics, including:

  • Wildlife in Calgary – Mindful urban planning, more information is needed about wildlife and we all have a role to ensure our safety and theirs
  • Feral, Stray and Roaming Cats – Minimize impact to other people and animals, deal with overpopulation, and take care of cats’ wellbeing
  • Urban Agriculture – Proper set up, training and ensure no negative impact to neighbours
  • Vicious dogs – Be in control, reduce the dog’s contact with others, assess and strive to re-train when possible, improve pre-court care, and try to understand why an incident occurred
  • Licensing – Outdoor versus indoor, reduce fees, improve value, consider licensing or registering other kinds of pets, review expectations for dog walkers and dog-walking businesses, review retail sale of pets and expectations and liability regarding imported animals, guidelines for framework for pet rescue organizations
  • Administration – The City should avoid overregulating, review multi-use spaces and improve customer service; owners should be in control of pets and follow rules; there should be enhanced communication and mutual respect between people.
  • Responsible pet ownership – Pet owners should care for pets, minimize impact to others and follow the rules

Input from phase 1 was used to:

  • develop potential bylaw amendments
  • guide future education considerations
  • guide potential operational changes for Calgary Community Standards

Public presentations

Public presentations occurred September 8 (7 – 8 pm) and September 12 (10 – 11 am). Below is a recording of the presentation for viewing.

What's happening?

Based on your feedback in phase 1 engagement, we wanted to update you on how your input has been used regarding enforcement, education and some other areas, including dog walkers and dog-walking businesses, off-leash parks, retail sale of animals, beekeeping and importing animals. Click on each title below to expand each section.


Thank you for providing your input into phase 2 engagement. In phase 2 engagement, we wanted your input into potential bylaw amendments and other considerations that were raised as we reviewed the research, municipal scans, as well as your input, input from targeted stakeholders and input from City staff in phase 1.

Phase 2 engagement is now closed. Your feedback is being reviewed. A summary of what we heard will be shared here in late October.

ਜਿੰਮੇਵਾਰ ਪਾਲਤੂ ਮਲਕੀਅਤ ਦਾ ਸਮਰਥਨ ਕਰਨਾ

ਇਸ ਨੋਟਿਸ ਵਿੱਚ ਮਹੱਤਵਪੂਰਨ ਜਾਣਕਾਰੀ ਸ਼ਾਮਲ ਹੈ ਜੋ ਤੁਹਾਨੂੰ ਪ੍ਰਭਾਵਿਤ ਕਰ ਸਕਦੀ ਹੈ।

ਕਿਰਪਾ ਕਰਕੇ ਕਿਸੇ ਨੂੰ ਇਸ ਦਾ ਤੁਹਾਡੇ ਲਈ ਅਨੁਵਾਦ ਕਰਨ ਲਈ ਕਹੋ।

ਕਿਰਪਾ ਕਰਕੇ 311 ਤੇ ਕਾਲ ਕਰੋ

ਸਾਡੇ 311 ਟੈਲੀਫ਼ੋਨ ਏਜੰਟਾਂ ਕੋਲ ਇੱਕ ਭਾਸ਼ਾ ਅਨੁਵਾਦ ਸੇਵਾ ਤਕ ਪਹੁੰਚ ਪ੍ਰਾਪਤ ਹੈ ਜੋ ਕੈਲਗਰੀ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਦੀ ਜਾਣਕਾਰੀ ਜਾਂ ਸੇਵਾਵਾਂ ਦੀ ਬੇਨਤੀ ਕਰਨ ਵਾਲੇ ਨਾਗਰਿਕਾਂ ਦੀ ਮਦਦ ਕਰ ਸਕਦੇ ਹਨ।

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the Responsible Pet Ownership bylaw being reviewed?
An update to the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw ensures that The City of Calgary is reaching as many pet owners as possible and is creating effective compliance and education by recognizing new trends that will impact Calgarians’ and businesses. This bylaw review provided opportunities for Calgarians to have input into potential changes to the bylaw. We wanted to hear from pet owners, non-pet owners, and people who work with, and interact with, pets.

Who are considered stakeholders in this project?
Pet owners, people who do not own pets, City staff and pet industry representatives (e.g. veterinary clinics, businesses, pet daycares, pet sitters, dog walkers, animal rescue organizations, academics, breeders, kennels, other nearby municipalities, etc.) are all considered stakeholders in this project.

Can participants from outside of Calgary or Alberta provide input on this engagement?
People who visit Calgary or live in neighbouring communities and work and play in Calgary may also be impacted and interested in the decisions we make, and we consider that when we determine who can give input into a project.

Why don’t we limit who can provide input?
For online public engagement, we try to strike a balance between ensuring the engagement activity is accessible to any Calgarian who would like to participate, while knowing that people who may be passionate, but aren’t impacted by City of Calgary decisions, may submit feedback. Engagement allows City decision-makers to understand the ideas and values that shape citizens’ preferences and desires so that those ideas and values can be taken into account when making decisions. All of the input collected for this project will be considered with the lens of what will work best in Calgary.

Can we tell which input is coming from participants outside of Calgary or Alberta?
The City does have access to unique identifiers created from the encrypted IP addresses, and this allows us to review the number of unique IPs that visit the page. This information, along with reviews of submitted data do show us that the system’s anti-spamming and automated bot detection systems are working as intended.

What happens if interest groups from outside of Calgary flood our process with feedback that doesn’t represent Calgarian’s views?
There is a chance that when discussing controversial or passionate topics, people with an interest in the topic from outside of Calgary may provide feedback. This adds to the quantity of comments, but there’s nothing to indicate that the range of ideas we are seeing from outside Calgary is any different from the comments we are getting from Calgarians.

Why are you conducting this review right now?
Calgarians’ needs have changed since the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw was last updated, 12 years ago. Pet ownership means more to Calgarians than simply caring for cats and dogs; emotional support animals, livestock (such as chickens) and beekeeping are also becoming areas of interest.

Why is the engagement being done in phases and what does the second phase explore?
In the first phase of engagement, we asked Calgarians about a range of topics including wildlife in Calgary, feral, stray and roaming cats, urban agriculture, vicious dogs and licensing their pets. In the second phase, we are asking questions based on common themes found in the initial feedback provided, and based on our research, which included data-based analysis on the issues and topics, and municipal scans to evaluate what other cities are doing.

What will you do with the results of this engagement?
Results from the engagement, research, operational feedback and best practices will inform recommendations to update the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw for City Council’s consideration in 2021.

What research has been done for this project?
A number of inputs are used to inform this bylaw review. They include market research, engagement, staff input, best practices research and a municipality scan to evaluate what other cities are doing. A review of 33 municipalities across Canada was completed. These were selected based on larger population bases and also included other jurisdictions in Alberta, with populations greater than 50,000 people.

Why are you asking breed specific questions?
In undertaking the bylaw review, one of our research pillars was a comparative municipal scan, to look for common themes in measures other cities are taking. We committed to listening to Calgarians on these themes, and offered the opportunity for them to provide feedback on the measures that other cities have considered or initiated regulation on, which includes breed specific legislation. As a part of this bylaw review, we are looking at mechanisms that can reduce the number and severity of dog bites in Calgary, and are at the stage where we are gathering this information.

Why we are asking about pit bulls and nuisance dogs in phase 2 engagement?
We understand this topic is sensitive for many. In phase one engagement we heard that Calgarians want further enforcement and harsher consequences for dogs that are considered dangerous. In our research, we looked at how other municipalities and provinces respond to these concerns. Many placed enhanced restrictions on dogs that are showing a potential for more dangerous behaviours based on their previous behaviours, including instituting measures for ‘pit bulls’. Courts also use information about a dog’s past behaviour when deciding whether to designate it as ‘vicious’.

No decisions have been made about any of the measures being asked in the survey.

We want to understand:

  • What Calgarians would, or would not support with regard to restrictions or increased expectations for pit bull or nuisance dog owners
  • What Calgarians would, or would not support regarding restrictions or increased expectations for dogs with multiple offences where there is a higher potential for dangerous behavior

Our recommended bylaw amendments will be based on Calgarians’ feedback, input from targeted stakeholders and internal staff and could include some restrictions, or none. Recommendations will also be informed by best practices research in other jurisdiction and scientific research. We thank Calgarians for taking the time to provide their opinions.

How many vicious dogs are in Calgary? What is a vicious dog and what repercussions do they have?
There are currently 13 vicious dogs (as deemed by the courts) in Calgary that have rules applied to them that other dogs in the city do not. A vicious dog is one that has chased, injured or bitten any other animal or human; damaged or destroyed public or private property; or, threatened or created the reasonable apprehension of a threat to a human, and which, in the opinion of a Justice, presents a threat of serious harm to other animals or humans.

Are dog bites increasing in Calgary?
Complaints from Calgarians through 311 in regard to dog bites have remained consistent, there is no increase observed year over year. While there is no increase in the number of bites observed, there are cases where the severity of the bites have increased.

Public safety and positive interactions between pets and the public are important to The City of Calgary. We are analyzing our data to look for opportunities to improve safety.

What are Calgary’s current dog bite statistics?
A total of 178 dog bites have been investigated by Calgary Community Standards from January 1 – July 31, 2020.

How do dog bites break down by breed in Calgary currently?
The investigated dog bites span breeds, including: working, herding, toy, terrier, sporting and non-sporting. In 2020, Working and Herding breeds make up about 56 per cent of the total bites in Calgary, with Terriers following at about 15 per cent. In 2019, Working and Herding breeds make up about 53 per cent of the total bites in Calgary, with Terriers following at about 17 per cent.

The City of Calgary uses the Ian Dunbar scale to evaluate dog bites. More information on the Ian Dunbar scale can be found here.

When looking at the more severe (Level 5) bites from 2015-2019, pit bulls, Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers and American pit bull terriers represented 39.1 per cent of those bites.

Level 4 bite on the Ian Dunbar scale: Two to four holes from a single bite, typically contact/punctures from more than canines, considerable bruising. Black bruising, tears and/or slashing wounds. Dog clamped down and held and/or shook head from side to side.

Level 5 bite on the Ian Dunbar scale: Multiple bites at level 4 or above. It also is characterized by a concerted, repeated attack causing severe injury.

What is the total number of bites on the higher end of the scale (4 and 5) in Calgary?
In 2020, 3.4 per cent of the bites were scaled at a Level Five and 10 per cent at a Level Four. Most incidents responded to locally are Level Two and Three, representing about 80.9 per cent of the bite incidents in Calgary.

Why are you asking about limiting the number of cats and dogs a household can have?
Limiting the number of pets a household can have helps to limit community concerns, such as accumulation of feces on a property or excessive noise due to barking.

What if someone wants 8 dogs and 4 cats in their home, would future regulation state that they cannot?
We are asking that Calgarians share their feedback as this is something we would like to understand better. We know that households vary as do pet owners and caretakers’ circumstances. One of the potential exceptions we are asking about is a process to gain approval for additional animals, if a limitation is introduced.

What role does the City of Calgary have in responsible pet ownership versus the province?
The province of Alberta has legislation that protects animals, it is known as the Animal Protection Act. This legislation is enforced by officers at the Calgary Humane Society. The City of Calgary has the Responsible Pet Ownership bylaw, which focusses on creating a safe and harmonious community for Calgarians and their pets. If City of Calgary officers encounter an animal in distress, they address the situation with our enforcement partners at Calgary Humane Society.


Thank you for providing your input. Phase 1 provided opportunities for you to have input into potential changes to the bylaw. There were six areas of focus for this engagement and feedback was collected online from February 26 to March 18, 2020. Your input from phase 1 is included in the What we Heard Report which can be found in the 'Important Links' section on the right of this page.

Input from phase 1 has been reviewed and is being used to help develop potential amendments to the bylaw. We want your feedback again in phase 2 engagement which will be from August 18 to September 17, 2020. This will be an opportunity for you to provide input into the potential amendments.

This bylaw impacts us all and we want to hear from pet owners, non-pet owners, and people who work with, and interact with, pets.

You have 300 characters left.

The survey form is now closed. Thanks for your contributions.

Click on the photos below to provide more detailed input on any of the six focus areas.



Thank you for your feedback. Public input, along with input from targeted stakeholders and internal expertise will be used to revise the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw. Feedback from phase 2 engagement is being reviewed and will be used to update bylaw amendments before presenting to the SPC on Community & Protective Services and City Council between March and April 2021.

Barking Lot - A cat-alogue of ideas

We asked whether you had ideas of something not covered in phase 1 or phase 2 engagement for the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw Review. These ideas are being reviewed.

18 September, 2020

Anonymous says:

“All dogs should be treated the same because it is the owner or lack thereof, that causes an animal to be violent, not the breed of the dog.”

18 September, 2020

Anonymous says:

“Even the suggestion of a breed ban is disgusting of the city. Educate yourselves on breedism. Your ignorance will not go unchallenged. ”

17 September, 2020

Anonymous says:

“Pit bull issue keeps coming to the table for a reason. If they weren't a problem they wouldn't be. The breeding needs to stop & ban”

17 September, 2020

Anonymous says:

“It is 100% the owners responsibility to maintain their animal and be in-tuned with them. NO TO BSL. People also need to be trained”

17 September, 2020

Anonymous says:

“Pit bulls as Nanny Dogs is a myth. Advocacy groups quit supporting as children were in danger. http://thetruthaboutpitbulls.blogspot.com. ”

17 September, 2020

Anonymous says:

“No ball ! It has been proven ineffective and is being removed in many other regions that have tried it. ”

17 September, 2020

Anonymous says:

“Owners are the issue, not the breed. Say no to BSL. They are a beautiful, caring, gentle and loving breed. Don’t discriminate. ”

17 September, 2020

Anonymous says:

“No breed specific legislation, and mandatory education/training programs for the OWNERS of pets deemed nuisances”

17 September, 2020

Anonymous says:

“BSL does not work. Please do not go back to this outdated and ill proven model of animal control. ”

17 September, 2020

Anonymous says:

“Pits were bred to kill. Creating an unstoppable "fighting machine". Once they attack they don't stop. They need to be banned. ”

17 September, 2020

Anonymous says:

“DNA records kept for pets and testing of illegal dog dirt. If there is a DNA match, impose a significant fine on the dog owner.”

17 September, 2020

Anonymous says:

“Most pit bull attacks are entirely unprovoked & half of the children killed are the victims of pit bulls raised with love in their household”


We want you to feel included in engagement. This means that we want you to feel respected; we want you to know your opinion is valued; and, we want you to be supported to participate in The City’s engagement process. We do not want you to experience any difficulties to sharing your ideas and opinions with us. We try to design engagement activities so that everyone that wants to be involved, can be.

We use your answers to the following evaluation and demographic questions to understand which voices from the community are missing so we can be better at including them next time. We work with internal and external colleagues to help ensure that our engagement activities are welcoming to all.