Roaming Pets – Owner Obligations

The Town of Torbay wishes to remind residents of their obligations and responsibilities with respect to animals, including pets. Owners are advised that it is an offence under the Animal Health and Protection Act, SNL 2010, c. A-9.1, as amended, to allow any animal (i.e. non-human vertebrate) to wander at large – this includes cats. While cats may control rodents, they also have a devastating impact on local bird species. Offenses under the Act can attract fines of up to $50,000 or 6 months in jail.

The Act is enforced by the Provincial Veterinarian’s office and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, or any other person or group designated by the Minister.

Other notable components of the Act state that:

  • The owner of a companion animal (i.e. a dog or cat) or livestock shall not permit the animal to cause a hazard to people, livestock operations, other animals, goods, property or the safe operation of motor vehicles.
  • The owner of a companion animal (i.e. a dog or cat) or livestock shall be liable for damages or injury caused by that animal or livestock to a person, other animals, goods or property.


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  1. Lisa O'Flaherty

    I am unclear as to what this means. Craig Scott told me two weeks ago there is no by-law in Torbay regarding cats. Also, is it possible to see the results of the study that was done assessing the effects of cats on the local bird population? Does the Town have anything in place to deal with what will become a huge rodent population if cats aren’t allowed outdoors? It seems the town is already dealing with a huge rodent issue, which I can only assume will get worse. So to be clear, under the law, are cats allowed out or not? Thank you.

    1. Ross @ Torbay

      Hi Lisa, there is no by-law specific to cats in Torbay, that is correct. However, the legislation referred to in this notice is of provincial jurisdiction and so, would take precedence over municipal by-laws and would not allow cats to roam outdoors. The most recent and most applicable study conducted was published by Environment Canada scientists in the Avian Conservation & Ecology Journal in 2013. It is true that rodents are problematic at the moment, one of the first things we recommend to residents is to not store garbage in garbage boxes as this can attract rodents to an area. Just use garbage boxes on the morning of your weekly collection. Hope this helps!

  2. Dar

    I would Not let my cat out simply due to the protection factor. Nothing more heartbreaking then loosing a pet to a an accident. Not to mention the fights cats get in .. etc. It’s sad to keep them in I know, but sadly enough there’s an overwhelming number of cats ending up in shelters or lost… if we are dependent on cats for rodent control well that’s sad also. Surely being the smart humans we hold ourselves to be we can come up with better solutions for rodent control.

  3. Raylene

    Well now. So if your cat get outside by accident, and you are looking for it (which happens), then You can be fined. The provincial by law does super cede a Municipality by law, but the Municipality has no animal control worker at this time. Nor do all municipalities have the funding for animal control. So how are they going to enforce this law? But its ok and not against the law to entrap another’s animal and harm or relocate it ?

    1. Ross @ Torbay

      Hi Raylene, The Town held interviews for the position of Animal Control Officer today (December 4th), we hope to have the position filled as soon as possible. Discretion is applied to all situations and all cases in matters such as these. Accidents will of course be factors in any situation. Thanks for getting in touch with your comments!

  4. Jeremy

    I’m thinking about getting a dog from the Shelter. Is there a requirement to register the animal, or get a license with the town?

    1. Ross @ Torbay

      Hi Jeremy,

      Yes it is mandatory to license your dog with the Town. However, it is free to do so.

      Check out the following link and scroll to the bottom to download your license form:

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