Animal Welfare

Cruelty to animals is not tolerated in Ontario.  If you think an animal is in distress or is being abused, call 1-833-9-ANIMAL (264625).

Call this number if an animal is in distress or being neglected. This includes animals that:

  • are injured, in pain, sick, suffering or abused
  • lack proper care, water, food or shelter

What happens when you call 1-833-9-ANIMAL

If you report an animal that is in distress, being abused or neglected:

  1. The Ontario Animal Protection Call Centre will file an incident ticket and connect you with the appropriate local contact.
  2. Based on the location and nature of the incident, the call centre may flag the ticket for further investigation with the appropriate authorities, such as a provincial inspector or the local police.
  3. After the appropriate authority reviews the incident ticket, they may investigate on-site or involve other authorities as needed. Authorities may contact you directly if they need more information.

Penalties for committing acts of animal cruelty

Ontario has the strongest penalties in Canada against animal cruelty. The Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act covers offences, including:

  • causing or permitting distress to an animal
  • causing harm or attempting to cause harm to a law enforcement or service animal
  • promoting, arranging or receiving a financial benefit from animal fighting events
  • training animals to fight other animals
  • owning or possessing equipment or structures used in animal fighting
  • failing to follow any applicable standards of care
  • obstructing an inspector or agent

Violating these laws can result in sentences such as:

  • up to two years in jail
  • fines of up to $130,000 against an individual on a first offence, or up to $500,000 against a corporation on a first offence
  • a lifetime ban on animal ownership
  • other penalties