Ministry of the
Solicitor General

Animal protection

Animal welfare

Animal Welfare

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

What happens when you make a call


Call representatives at the Ontario Animal Protection Call Centre will file an incident ticket and connect you with the appropriate local contact. Anonymous calls can be made to the call centre.


Based on the location and nature of the incident, the ticket may be flagged for further investigation with the appropriate authorities such as a provincial inspector, local humane society, or local police. 


After the incident ticket is reviewed by the appropriate authority, they may investigate on-site or involve other authorities, as needed. If more information is required, you may be contacted directly.

The Ontario Animal Protection Call Centre is unable to provide updates on calls or investigations. You may be contacted by authorities only if more information is required.

Provincial inspectors will work with local police, veterinarians, agriculture commodities and local humane societies, as appropriate, to ensure animals remain protected while Ontario transitions to a more robust, transparent and accountable permanent animal protection system.

Know who to call

  • 1-833-9-ANIMAL
  • An animal in distress or being neglected. This includes animals that are injured, in pain, sick, suffering or abused, or lack proper care, water, food or shelter.
  • Local animal control
  • A wild animal in distress, injured or deceased.
  • A wild or domestic animal roaming on public property.
  • 911 (Emergency)
  • An emergency where a life is in immediate danger or distress such as an animal attack or animal in a hot vehicle.
  • Illegal activity such as dog or cock fighting rings.

Penalties for committing acts of animal cruelty

It is an offence to:

  • cause or permit distress to an animal
  • cause harm to a law enforcement animal
  • train or permit animals to fight other animals
  • own or possess equipment or structures used in animal fighting
  • fail to comply with standards of care applicable to most animals
  • obstruct an inspector or agent

Ontario has basic standards of care that apply to all animals covered under the act, including requirements for:

  • food, water, medical attention and care
  • ventilation, light and protection from the elements, including harmful temperatures
  • sanitary conditions and space to enable natural movement and exercise
  • pens or enclosed structures
  • humane euthanization to minimize pain and distress to animals

Ontario also has additional standards of care for animals in unique circumstances like dogs that live outdoors and marine mammals such as cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises), pinnipeds (walruses, sea lions) and sea otters. In addition, it is prohibited to buy and breed orcas (also known as killer whales) in Ontario.

Violating these laws can result in sentences that may include up to two years in jail, fines of up to $60,000, and a lifetime ban on animal ownership, as well as other penalties.

Our goal is to ensure that Ontario’s animals are protected and treated in the humane manner the people of Ontario expect.

Animal Care Review Board

The Animal Care Review Board hears appeals from individuals whose animals have been seized or who have been issued orders.

Related legislation

Downloadable resources

animal Protection poster
Animal protection poster