The Dangers Of Publicly Shaming Dog Owners

Dog owners whose pets bite other dogs or animals might soon be required to keep a sign in front of their lawn – that is, if changes to the Toronto Municipal Code, being recommended in a new report, are accepted by council.

The suggested changes include forcing dog owners with pets deemed as “dangerous” to put a warning sign outside of their homes. Further, the dog will have to wear a dog tag identifying it as a potential danger.

“What we’re putting forward (as a definition) for a ‘dangerous dog’ is a dog that has severely bitten a person or a domestic animal,” Elizabeth Glibbery, manager at Toronto Animal Services, told the Toronto Star.

Glibbery says the goal is to protect the public from dangerous dogs and decrease cases of dog bites and attacks in the city.

Roughly 230 000 dogs live in Toronto, and while most never cause any problems, this report aims to give the city more control in cases of those who do.

The amendment will also allow the city access to the outside of the owner’s property, to ensure proper treatment of the animal.

This report comes at a time that other Canadian cities, like Montreal, are receiving backlash for controversial anti-pit bull laws.

“I think I’m glad that Toronto is not considering it a breed-specific situation, but a little concerned about what is a domestic animal and calling a dog a dangerous animal because it ran after a pet bunny or a guinea pig,” said Naomi Kane, the chair of the Responsible Dog Ownership Committee at the Canadian Kennel Club.

“It’s really about education and people understanding what they have on the end of the leash,” added Kane. “So, part of being a responsible dog owner is knowing what you’ve got.”

Some dog owners think the measures are too extreme, however, since some dogs that have no history of aggression could bite under circumstances where they feel threatened.

Khadijah Guillume and her dog


“It could have been, maybe something happened, she sensed something with the human she didn’t really like. . . . I wouldn’t want to put up a sign and I would probably feel like it’s unnecessary, you know? She wouldn’t need a special collar, it would probably just be that one incident and one time only,” said Toronto dog owner Khadijah Guillume.

The report was considered by the Licensing and Standards Committee on September 21st and will be open to public feedback until the end of October.


  1. Khadijah Guillume/Toronto Star
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