“The province of Ontario is the only province currently lacking any form of provincial legislation regarding private exotic animal ownership.” – Library of Congress
In a province where pit bull type dogs are illegal, and owners caught with prohibited dogs can face thousands of dollars in fines, the average civilian can actually, legally, own a tiger.
This might seem far fetched, but Ontario as a province has almost no laws on regulating and prohibiting keeping exotic animals or wildlife as pets. The only Act that is somewhat related to protecting exotic wildlife is the Fish and Wildlife Act, which only states that “protected wildlife” –ex. lynx and cougar– can not be owned personally. However, if you can prove that you are using the lynx or cougar for educational purposes, you are allowed to keep the animal in your home.
These loose and unregulated laws provide a lot of wiggle room for people wishing to own exotic animals. There are even licensed big cat breeders in Ontario, who sell lion and tiger cubs as household pets.
That’s right! The province that banned dogs with blocky heads is perfectly alright with people keeping lions and tigers as pets.
Ottawa and Toronto have “strict” exotic animal laws, prohibiting people from owning pets like tigers, and people who break these laws can face a whopping $240 fine for keeping the animals within city limits. However, if you are caught with a pit bull type dog in either of these cities, you could face up to six months imprisonment and a $10,000 fine, have your dog seized, and most likely euthanized.
As we did more research, the results only became more shocking.
Under the Fish and Wildlife Act, you can legally trap your own native wild animals, and keep them as pets. If you have a trapping license, you can go into the woods, trap a fox or coyote, and bring it home to play with the kids. What?! How is this safer than a dog?
There have been more than a few incidents, where “pet owners” were harmed by their exotic animals.
For example: In 2012, a 66 year old man was killed by his 650 pound Siberian tiger. This was the second incident involving tiger attacks on the man’s property. In 2004, a 10 year old boy was severely mauled, sustaining serious head and neck injuries. Despite the previous incident, the man was still allowed to keep tigers on his property.
Const. Carlson, who responded to the call, had this to say: “You’re dealing with a wild animal, and, unfortunately, it turned on its owner and attacked.” He also mentioned that this case was “unusual,” and they weren’t sure “where to go from here.”
This nonchalant response to a man being mauled to death by a tiger is absolutely shocking in comparison to the things officials have said about pit bull type dogs, which are banned entirely from the province for being “inherently dangerous.”
According to the Government of Ontario, regulating exotic animals in homes is less important than regulating what breeds of dogs people own, based on physical appearance.
So, if you really want to look tough, leave the pit bull at home and buy a tiger, because it’s totally legal! Please don’t actually buy a tiger.
If the Government of Ontario truly wishes to keep their people safe from dangerous animals, they should be reevaluating their pre-existing laws on housing exotic pets and wildlife before banning breeds of dogs on false proof of inherent aggression.