Animal Responsibility

Animal Responsibility Bylaw

The Animal Responsibility Bylaw contains important provisions for animal welfare, control, licensing, duties of North Cowichan animal owners, penalties, and enforcement. 

Dog licensing

Dog and cat requirements

The Animal Responsiblity Bylaw and the provincial Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act set out requirements for people keeping animals. This includes providing clean drinking water, sufficient food, sanitary reseptacles, exercise, clean bedding in a warm and dry area, and veterinarian care.

  • Every dog over 4 months old must be licensed. 
  • No person shall keep more than three (3) dogs over the age of 8 weeks.
  • Dogs must be leashed and under control at all times when in public, with the exception of designated off-leash areas (dogs must be under control).
  • Dogs may not bark, howl, yelp, cry, or make other noises continuously for ten minutes or more.
  • Clean up after your dog and dispose of feces in a sanitary manner. Don't throw feces or bags in the bushes!
  • Cats that go outdoors must be spayed or neutered.
  • No person shall keep more than five (5) cats over the age of 12 weeks.
  • Only registered Trap Neutre Release program organizations are permitted to feed or leave food out for ownerless cats.
  • Cats must have identification (collar, harness, tattoo, or microchip) so lost cats can be reunited with their owner.

Coastal Animal Services

Coastal Animal Services of BC Ltd. has provided animal control services and pound facilities for North Cowichan since 1975. Coastal Animal Services provides:

    • Animal control - providing community safety by enforcing the Animal Responsibility Bylaw
    • Emergency service 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year
    • Injured animals in a public place
    • Attacking or aggressive dogs
    • Barking dogs
    • Neglected or stray dogs or cats, including dogs kept outside without appropriate shelter
    • Unlicensed dogs
    • Dogs tied up for more than two (2) hours within a 24 hour period
    • Off-leash dogs (outside a designated off-leash area)
    • Pet adoption
    • Pet advice
    • Dog licence tags

 Aggressive dogs

Owners of dogs deemed to be aggressive by an Animal Control Officer need to be aware of their responsibilities.

  • Ensure that an aggressive dog is not in any public place unless it is muzzled, on a leash not exceeding six feet, and under the control of a competent individual. Aggressive dogs are not allowed on school grounds, within 30 m of any playground, or any designated dog area, or park;
  • Keep aggressive dogs securely confined indoors or in a pen outdoors that is located in a rear yard, locked to prevent casual entry by another person, and has been inspected by an Animal Control Officer;
  • Post a warning sign at the entrance to the owner’s property, warning in writing as well as with a symbol, that there is an aggressive dog on the property;
  • Notify North Cowichan within one week if the dog is sold, given away, or dies; and
  • Notify Coastal Animal Control immediately if the dog is loose or has bitten or attacked any person or animal.

Contact information

North Cowichan Bylaw Services

Reporting distressed dogs in hot cars
SPCA (9am-5pm): 1-855-622-7722
RCMP (after 5pm): 250-748-5522

Conservation Officer Service
Report sightings of wildlife