Animal Care and Control By-Law

The Town of East Gwillimbury (EG) has approved a consolidated animal control by-law. The new by-law covers provisions for kennels, rules related to pigeons and wildlife, backyard hens, setback requirements for livestock buildings, animal care provisions and more. See the new Animal Care and Control By-Law #2020-085 for more details.

Questions or concerns about domestic animals and pets?

If you have questions or concerns regarding domestic animals/pets and to report dogs running at large, please call Animal Control at 1-888-644-5634.

Report sick, injured, or other wildlife situations  

Animal Services has reported several cases of deceased and infected birds (geese) with presumed avian influenza (H5N1), also known as bird flu, throughout the community.

If you see dead or ill geese, please do not touch the birds. Members of the public are asked to report sick or injured geese to Animal Services by email or call 1-877-979-PAWS. Dead wildlife that is found on Town property, including parks, trails, or roads can contact Customer Service by email or call 905-478-4282.

The following information from the Public Health Agency of Canada, recommends that members of the public should not handle sick or dead wild birds or other wildlife, as they may be infected with diseases that can spread to humans. Pets should also be kept away from sick or dead wildlife and be kept on leashes.

Wild birds in Canada and throughout the world are natural carriers of avian influenza viruses. Although some wild birds may get sick and die, others can be infected and still appear healthy. Avian influenza can spread to domestic poultry and can sometimes spread to mammals, such as foxes, skunks and mink, who may eat infected birds. Rarely, avian influenza may also spread to people. While the likelihood of becoming infected with avian influenza virus is low, individuals should still be cautious when handling infected wild birds or other wildlife because avian influenza has the potential to cause severe disease in people.

Residents are asked to remove birdfeeders or birdbaths and keep cats indoors to limit transmission of the virus.

If you have any questions, please contact Animal Services by email or call 1-877-979-PAWS. For more information on avian influenza, please visit the Government of Canada’s website.


Key areas of the new Animal Care and Control By-law

  • Animal care provisions which require that animals be provided with a clean, sanitary environment and adequate care, including food, water, shelter and veterinary care.
  • For animals kept on a tether (chain, rope or other restraint), the tether must be at least three meters (9.84 feet) of length and meet the needs of the animal, providing unrestricted movement and cannot cause injuries.
  • Working/Livestock Guardian Dog exempt from the dogs running at large restrictions when actively engaged in their duties. These working dogs are an effective way for farmers to manage predator prevention reducing livestock losses.
  • Addition of Kennel and Animal Day Care Centre Licence outlining requirements including the care and housing of animals, number of animals permitted and licensing requirements.
  • Keeping of no more than 4 cats in any dwelling unit. If more than 4 cats are owned on the date of the passing of the by-law the owner shall be permitted to keep those cats until they pass or are relocated. The additional cats must be registered with the Town by January 20, 2021.
  • Keeping of Pigeons, limit of six (6) on lands zoned residential, and up to thirty (30) on lands zoned residential provided the owner is a member in standing of a recognized pigeon club, provides for set back requirements and the removal of pigeon droppings and disposal in a sanitary manner.
  • List of permitted animals
  • Feeding of wildlife prohibited, excluding songbirds.
  • Addition of backyard hens and apiary regulations.
  • Addition of setback requirements for livestock buildings.

Animal control

Please note in a residential area, there is a maximum of three dogs allowed per home.

Currently, the Town of East Gwillimbury does not have a requirement to licence cats.

If you have concerns regarding dogs running at large, please call Animal Control at 1-888-644-5634.

If you have a concern regarding wild animals, please contact the Ministry of Natural Resources at 905-713-7400. 


Wildlife Animal Services

To report injured or sick wildlife please call 1-877-979-PAWS or send an email.


Concerns about animal distress or abuse can be reported to the Ontario Animal Protection Call Centre at 1-833-9-ANIMAL (1-833-926-4625). See the Government of Ontario page on Animal Welfare for more details.

Dog licences

Dog licences are $41.50 per dog or $30.70 per dog for seniors 65 and older. Licences must be purchased by February 28 of each year.

To buy your licence(s), please visit the Civic Centre during regular business hours or purchase your dog licence(s) online

As per the Town of East Gwillimbury's "Animal Care and Control By-law #2020-085", every owner of a dog must purchase a dog tag for the current year and be affixed to the dog's collar when not on their property. Dog tags are valid for one calendar year and must be purchased prior to February 28th of that year.

Guide/assistive/therapy dogs are required to have valid dog tags however, there is no fee for these tags. Proof of designation as a guide/assistive/therapy dog will be required at the time of obtaining a dog tag.

In the event of a dog tag being lost, a replacement tag may be purchased for $8.50.

If a dog is found to be without a current dog tag, the owner or person in possession of the dog could be liable to a fine of $350.00. All dogs must be leashed when off their owner's property. If a dog is found to be off leash it may be deemed “Running at Large” and charges may be laid on the owner or person who the dog is in the care of.

Off-leash dog area

The Town does not maintain any off-leash dog areas. However, York Region has an off-leash area at their Bendor and Graves Tract at 17858 McCowan Road in East Gwillimbury.

Visit the York Regional Forest page for more details.


Find information on coyotes, what to do if you see one and how to prevent them from hanging around your property.

Pound keeper

The Pound Keeper shall impound any horse, bull, ox, cow, sheep, goat, pig or other cattle, geese or other poultry, for unlawfully running at large or for trespassing and doing damage, delivered to him or her for that purpose by any person resident in the Pound Keeper's division.

See The Pounds Act, 1990 for more information regarding Pound Keepers.

Please contact the Clerks' Office at 905-478-4282 x3821.

Livestock valuation

In the event of livestock being killed or injured by coyotes, wolves, or wild dogs, contact the Clerks' Office at 905-478-4282 x3821. Do not remove the carcass until a Town appointed Valuator has attended your property to assess the loss. The Livestock Valuator will file a report with the Town. For more information, contact Customer Service at 905-478-4282.

Pet waste

The Town of East Gwillimbury encourages pet owners to be good neighbours by picking up after their dogs. Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s also the law.

Disposing of pet waste is easy – it belongs in the green bin at home and waste bins when in the community.

By-laws are in place to keep neighbourhoods clean. For the safety and well-being of everyone in the community, including front-line staff, littering and illegal dumping are prohibited under the Property Maintenance By-law . Citizens must pick up after their pets, whether on public or private property. The fine for failing to do so is $250. To report pet waste and other littering in East Gwillimbury, please call 905-478-4283 or email.

Picking up pet waste also helps to keep the community healthy and safe. The primary route of parasite transmission between pets is through ingesting infected eggs/larva in the environment, which can be found in animal feces. Excrement may also contain bacteria and parasites that can affect humans and can attract wildlife, such as coyotes.

When visiting the Town’s parks or trails with or without your furry friend, remember to use the waste bins provided in public spaces. If they are full, take your garbage and pet waste home with you.

 Visit our waste collection services to learn more on what can be recycled and placed in the green bin.


Small black and white dog sitting near a pondPick up after your pet sign