Animal Control

The By-Law Enforcement Department is responsible for Animal Control within the Town’s Limits. The By-Law Enforcement Officers are also responsible for the operations & maintenance of The Town of Fort Frances Animal Shelter.


Dogs and cats are the greatest stress relievers, exercise buddies, cuddle companions, kids’ pals, etc. Return your pet’s love and loyalty by being a responsible pet owner.


  • Provide adequate food, water, exercise, shelter and a clean environment.
  • Make sure your dog or cat is licensed, so that it can be returned safely if it ever decides to leave home without you.
  • Have your pet spayed or neutered-sterilized pets are healthier and calmer and you’ll never have to deal with the problem of unwanted puppies or kittens.
  • Have your pets vaccinated regularly against rabies and other diseases.
  • Exercise your dog, but keep it on a leash. Dogs running free can be injured in traffic or by other dogs. You are legally responsible for any bites or property damage caused by your dog.
  • Keep your cats indoors, where it is perfectly happy and much safer. If you feel outdoor exercise is necessary, use a cat harness and leash or build an outdoor exercise enclosure.
  • Make sure you give your animal enough attention and companionship. Neglected, lonely animals often develop behaviour problems.
  • Clean up after your pet. Animal droppings are offensive and hazardous, whether on private or public property.
  • Make sure your dog gets basic obedience training.
  • Encourage neighbours with pets to follow these rules of responsible ownership.
  • Remember to consider your neighbours-Not everyone shares your love of animals.

Animal Control FAQ’s

Why purchase a tag for my dog or cat?

Purchasing a tag for your pet will ensure that your pet is returned to you safely if it is lost and found. The revenue from dog and cat tags helps to pay for the Animal Control Program and the care and feeding of stray dogs and cats.

When do I need to purchase a tag for my dog or cat?

Every owner of a dog or cat must purchase a tag on or before January 1st each year that he or she is the owner of the dog or cat.

Every person who becomes the owner of a dog or cat after January 1st, shall purchase a tag within 7 days of becoming the owner and on or before January 1st of each year after that.

You do not have to purchase a tag for your dog or cat until the dog or cat reaches 6 months old.

A new lifetime license is available for you to purchase for your dog or cat. Anyone wanting to purchase this type of license is required to have their pet microchipped or tattooed from a Veterinarian or other qualified person and their shots to date when application is made. Applicants are required to provide proof of services rendered by the Veterinarian or qualified individual.

What information do I need to provide when I purchase an animal tag?

How much does a dog or cat tag cost?

For applicable tag fees, please Click Here.

Where can I purchase a Tag?

Currently, the only location to purchase an animal tag is at:

Civic Centre
320 Portage Avenue
Fort Frances, ON P9A 3P9

Where is the Animal Shelter located?

The Animal Shelter is located at 900 Wright Avenue. For more information contact 274-5323 and leave a message.

Pets & Emergencies

For information about protecting your pets during emergencies, please click on the following links:

Pets and Emergencies Brochure - English (PDF)

Pets and Emergencies Brochure - French (PDF)

How many dogs and cats can I have?

There is no limit on the number of dogs and cats that a person can have. However, you are required to be able to provide adequate care for every dog or cat in your possession.

Are there rules about other types of animals that I can have?

Yes, the Town of Fort Frances Animal Control By-Law also regulates the keeping of other animals such as chickens, lizards, snakes, farm animals, etc. For information about the keeping of animals other than dogs and cats, please refer to the Animal Control By-Law or call the Animal Control Officers at (807) 274-5323.

When should I call Animal Control?

Some reasons that you may wish to call animal control are:

  • To report that your dog or cat is missing.
  • To file a complaint about a dog or cat such as excessive noise, or a dog or cat on your property without your consent.
  • If you find a stray dog or cat.
  • If you see a dog or cat that is off its leash or not under effective control of a responsible person.
  • If you are attacked by a dog or cat.
  • If an owner does not remove and dispose of excrement left by a dog or cat on public property or on private property without the consent of the property owner (poop and scoop).

How do I contact Animal Control?

The number to call is (807) 274-5323. If there is no answer, please leave a message. The Officers are normally out in the community and not in the office. Officers will return your call as soon as possible.

Animal Control Services are provided Monday to Friday between the hours of 8:30am and 4:30 pm. (Summer hours are 8:00am to 4:00pm in July and August). There is no animal control services on Saturday, Sunday or Statutory Holidays.

The Officers will only respond to after hour’s calls if the call is an emergency. An example of an emergency is an incident involving a viscous dog or cat where another animal or a person is injured. If you have an emergency and cannot reach the Animal Control Officers, you may wish to call 911 and ask for the Police.

Reporting Animal Neglect & Abuse

Please contact OPP Animal Abuse Reporting – 1-833-9ANIMAL (1-833-926-4625)

Are there areas in the Town where animals are to be leashed at all times?

Yes, animals are to be leashed at all times when walking in the areas of the Point Park and Seven Oaks, as well as all walking areas on Front Street (Water Front Area).

How long do you keep animals?

Under the Animals for Research Act, we are required to keep stray animals for a minimum of 3 days, excluding the day the animal was impounded and weekends and holidays. All stray animals turned into the Animal Control Officers are held for longer times depending on their temperament, or their health. During this period the animal is checked for tags, microchips, tattoo’s or any other type if identification. Every attempt is made to reunite these animals with their owners. At the end of the animal’s redemption period a decision is made as to whether the animal is suitable for adoption or not. This decision is based on the animal’s age, medical condition and temperament. 

Dog Bites & Attacks: What To Do

If you have been bitten or attacked by a dog, report the bite or attack to the By-Law Enforcement Office at (274-5323) during regular business hours and after hours to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) as soon as possible. In the event that the victim is transported to the hospital, the bite or attack should be reported to the Northwestern Health Unit and the By-Law Enforcement Office or OPP as soon as possible after treatment is complete.

If a dog bites or attacks you and breaks the skin:

  • Seek medical attention (call 911 if serious).
  • Obtain the dog owner’s name and address.
  • Obtain information about anyone who witnessed the bite.
  • Immediately wash the bite or wound with soap and water for at least 15 minutes.
  • Apply an antiseptic to the wound, if available.
  • Take a clear photo of the bite injury – document the date and time of the photo.
  • As soon as practical in your own handwriting, make clear concise notes on the date, time and location where the bite occurred, what happened, and a clear description of the dog.

If a dog attacks or menaces you, but does not break the skin:

It is not necessary to contact the Northwestern Health Unit. However, the dog may still have committed a dangerous act, defined as any bite, attack, act of menacing behaviour or combination of the above. Call the By-Law Enforcement Office or OPP and provide:

  • a clear description of dog (if possible)
  • dog owner’s name and address
  • date, time and location where the incident occurred
  • witness information, if possible

If your pet has been bitten or attacked by a dog, report the bite or attack to the By-Law Enforcement Office or OPP as soon as possible.

If you are the owner of a dog that has bitten:

  • Leash your dog and isolate from causing further threats.
  • Provide your contact information to the person who was bitten.
  • Make clear, concise notes of the incident in your own handwriting.
  • If the person’s skin has been broken, isolate your dog until contacted by Public Health.
  • If necessary, consult an expert about your dog’s behaviour.

If your pet has been bitten or attacked by a dog, report the bite or attack to the By-Law Enforcement Office or OPP as soon as possible.

Dog Bites & Attacks: What the By-Law Enforcement Office Will Do

Depending on the details of the incident, the By-Law Enforcement Officers, OPP, Northwestern Health Unit and/or Hospital may:

  • initiate an investigation within as soon as possible
  • assist the healthcare provider in assessing the level of risk associated with the exposure
  • provide rabies vaccine upon request of the healthcare provider
  • confine the dog for a 10-day observation period, usually at home with their owner
  • ensure the dog is up to date for their rabies vaccination, which is required by law in Ontario

Once the By-Law Enforcement Office receives information about a dog that has committed a vicious act, the following happens:

  • If the dog is still on the loose, an officer will respond immediately.
  • If the dog is with the owner and under control, an officer will respond as soon as possible and begin an investigation.

By-Law Enforcement Office staff will walk you through the process after you’ve had a negative encounter with a dog. An officer will:

  • investigate the incident
  • interview the victim
  • request the victim and any witness prepare a written statement detailing the incident
  • request medical documentation (if applicable)
  • take photographs
  • any other evidence pertaining to the incident.

The officer will consolidate all evidence as part of the investigation.

If it’s determined that the dog committed a vicious act, one of the following actions will be taken:

  • A written warning will be issued when the vicious act is the first on record with the Town and the dangerous act is not found to be severe.
  • A vicious dog order will be issued when the vicious act is found to be severe or was the second or subsequent vicious act on record with the Town.

When the vicious act is the first on record with the Town, an officer will examine all of the circumstances of the specific vicious act when determining if the vicious act is severe. In assessing the circumstances, the officer may consider factors such as:

  • The extent of the bite (i.e. single wound vs multiple wounds)
  • The extent of the attack injury (i.e. bruising vs fracture)
  • The extent of the act of menacing behavior

An officer may give different weight to each of these factors depending on the circumstances and may consider other factors as relevant. An officer will conduct an investigation and review all of the evidence in coming to a decision on severity.

A vicious dog order will include requirements for an owner to comply with, including muzzling the dog, registering the dog as a vicious dog and other restrictions that may be deemed appropriate by the officer.

During an investigation into a vicious act, an officer will consider whether the dog was acting in self-defence at the time of the vicious act. If the officer determines the dog was acting in self-defence, the officer may determine that the dog is not a vicious dog.

When determining if a dog was acting in self-defence, the officer will consider whether:

  • the dog was defending itself from a bite or attack
  • the severity of the injury was necessary for the dog defending itself from a bite or attack
  • the victim was committing a criminal act on the premises of the owner and incurred injuries as a result of being bitten or attacked

Dog Owner’s Liability Act (DOLA)

  • The Province of Ontario’s Dog Owners’ Liability Act (DOLA) is a piece of legislation in relation to dogs, including pit bulls, intended to increase public safety.
  • If a dog owner is found guilty of an offence under DOLA, a court could issue a control order, fine or a destruction order for the dog.
  • You can read the DOLA here.