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Animal Services
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Animal Services Agency

Pet care & owner responsibilities

Basics of Responsible Pet Ownership

  • License dogs and cats at 6 months of age
  • Spay/neuter dogs and cats at 6 months of age
  • Identification:
    • Pet license and personal tag on collar.  Use breakaway collar for cats.
    • Microchip and tattoo
  • Vaccinate your pets
  • Provide heartworm protection
  • Seek training for behavioural issues
  • Follow the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw

Responsible Pet Ownership By-Law

The Responsible Pet Ownership By-Law regulates the presence of wild and domesticated animals within the City of Winnipeg, their activities and the activities of their owners.

Number of pets

Under the bylaw, residents may have six dogs and cats over the age of six months, of which no more than four may be dogs. An Excess Animal Permit is required to legally own or harbour more than the legal limit of pets.

Pet health

Spay & neuter

Spaying or neutering your pet:

  • Helps control the pet overpopulation problem
  • Reduces the risk of cancer
  • Reduces roaming
  • Reduces aggression
  • Provides a significant discount when licensing

To spay/neuter your pet, contact a veterinarian.

Low income spay/neuter programs

Available at the Winnipeg Humane Society and is partially funded by the City of Winnipeg:

Available at Animal Services is made possible by a generous donation from a Winnipeg resident:

The City of Winnipeg's Prevent a Litter (PAL) Program expands access to spay/neuter and vaccinations for dogs owned by Winnipeggers living on low income.


Vaccinating your dog or cat:

  • Helps protect the health of your pet and the community
  • Is required by law (the Rabies vaccine)

Visit your veterinarian for more information.

Heartworm prevention

Dogs and cats can get heartworm disease from mosquitos.  Heartworm can kill your pet.  Heartworm prevention products are available from your veterinarian.

Keeping your pet safe

  • Think about your pets when you develop your family's emergency plan. Learn more about emergency preparedness and pets.
  • Fireworks or scheduled fireworks? Keep your pets inside.

Leaving pets in vehicles

  • Residents are prohibited from leaving dogs, cats, and other companion animals unattended in vehicles when the outside temperature is at or warmer than 22°C or at colder than -10°C.
  • This doesn’t apply to a running vehicle with a working air-conditioning or heating system. However, idling of vehicles is discouraged.
Dog sitting in a vehicle

If you observe this violation, take pictures of the vehicle, license plate, and animal. Email the photos and your contact information to for possible ticketing by Animal Services.

For response to help the animal, contact the Winnipeg Humane Society at 204-982-2020 or Winnipeg Police Service non-emergency at 204-986-6222. If the animal is in distress, call 911.

Cycling with your dog

  • Cycling with your dog tethered to the bicycle or similar device is prohibited when the temperature is 22°C or above.
  • Biking with a dog on a warm summer day can be dangerous. Dogs can suffer heat exhaustion and burnt pads.
Man cycling with his dog

Caring for your dog

Dog housing

  • A dog may not be tethered, chained or housed outdoors in a dog house, storage shed, or similar structure or kept outdoors for prolonged periods of time.
  • Dogs kept outdoors in an urban city have more neighbourhood impact including barking and are exposed to more fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, the heat, and the cold.
  • Dogs left in yards over time can become territorial, aggressive, and are subject to poisoning, theft, and attacks from predators such as coyotes.
  • Supervision of dogs placed outside temporarily is also required. This means a resident is responsive to a dog and any attendance by enforcement officers.
Dog chained in a yard outside with dog house

Harness use

Use a front latching harness which provides more control than a standard collar when taking your dog for a walk.  Be sure to remove the harness after use.


Training can be beneficial to any dog.  Consult available resources online or at a local training business.

Preventing dog bites

  • Only approach a dog if you have permission from the owner
    • If there is no owner there – stay away from the dog
  • When you have permission to pet a dog, let the dog sniff the back of your fist and move slowly and quietly
  • Always move slowly and quietly around dogs –DON’T run or make loud noises around strange dogs
  • Don’t disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating or looking after puppies
  • Don’t try to take any toys, food or any other object from a dog’s mouth
  • If a strange dog is approaching you:
    • Stand still and be quiet
    • Don’t try to run away because this will make the dog chase you
    • Don’t stare into the dog’s eyes
  • If the dog tries to grab you:
    • try to let him have your jacket or backpack, etc.
    • put something between you and the dog
  • If you fall or are knocked down:
    • Curl up into a ball with your hands over your ears and stay still
    • Try not to scream or roll around
    • Wait for help to arrive before getting up
  • Never cut through someone’s yard, even if you know the people. You could run into a dog that might bite you.
  • If your dog is expressing aggression toward people or animals, use a muzzle when in public. 

Pet ownership

Pet ownership quiz challenge

Test your knowledge of responsible pet ownership!

Pet information & resources

Visit these external agencies for helpful information on dog and cat ownership:

'At Risk' category

Irresponsible pet ownership and care can lead to problematic pets and risk. The ‘At Risk’ category is for pets owned by irresponsible pet owners. This category allows requirements to be placed on a pet owner to proactively improve community and pet health and safety.

An animal is at risk if there is evidence of irresponsible pet ownership, including but not limited to:

  • The animal having more than two incidents of running at large and/or pursuing an individual or animal
  • The animal having more than one incident of biting an individual or animal
  • The animal having more than one incident of being impounded at an animal shelter
  • Unsanitary confinement of an animal
  • Lack of veterinary care for an animal for medical issues
  • The owner has a history of non-compliance with the requirements of the Responsible Pet Ownership By-law or the owner refuses to, or there are reasonable grounds to believe that the owner will fail to, comply with the requirements of the bylaw

Restrictions on animal ownership

A resident may be either temporarily or permanently restricted from acquiring additional animals based on a person’s animals being designated at risk, dangerous, exceptionally dangerous, or needing protection.

View the bylaw

View the Responsible Pet Ownership By‑law for more information.

Last update: April 10, 2024

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