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Leash Laws

Unless there is signage to the contrary all dogs must be firmly held on a leash in all public places.

"Public place" means: streets; sidewalks; parks; beaches; squares; boulevards; bridges; walkways; trails and any place where there is an implied or expressed invitation to the public (eg. shopping malls, strip malls, professional centres).

  • It is unlawful to tie or secure a dog to any object in most public places
  • Dogs left tied or unattended in the downtown core or other high traffic pedestrian areas will be impounded regardless of the circumstance.

If you are going shopping - please DO NOT leave your dog tied-up outside of a store

  • Persons frequently leave dogs outside the Market on Yates; Mountain Equipment Co-op (on Government); throughout the Cook St. Village; the Bay Centre Mall; James Bay Thrifty's; Wellburn's Market; and the Library Plaza to name a few.
  • Animal Control Officers will seize & impound on-the-spot, dogs left in these circumstances; owners must pay impound fees before their dog can be released to them.  Tickets can also be issued.
  • We too often investigate dog bite incidents in which a normally friendly dog (left unattended outside of a store) bites someone.  You are responsible for your dog's actions at all times.

Exceptions: Designated Leash Optional Areas (LOAs) / Private Lands with written permission / Police Dogs

Tied or Unattended Dogs

This photo shows a few examples of the dynamics created by persons who leave their dogs tied or unattended.

1. The dog in the foreground can: entangle itself in the cord leash; wrap itself around objects & get stuck.  Some dogs then react fearfully and struggle / choke themselves.  The dog may back out of its collar; or can be run over by a passing car.

2. The dog in the background tied to the bike rack will prevent many cyclists from being able to use the bike rack.

Other issues a tied &/or unattended dog can create

  • Many dogs become stressed when left unattended; a normally friendly dog may act aggressively or bite a passerby.
  • People may approach your dog and give it food/treats without your permission/supervision.
  • Tied or unattended dogs are sometimes stolen.
  • The outstretched leash and/or unsupervised dog itself becomes a tripping hazard for persons who are blind or visually impaired.
  • Some people (when they find a stray dog) will tie the dog up to a pole, sign post, tree etc. and leave it there to be found by the owner, however, the owner doesn't come by and the dog spends hours and hours tied to the object until Animal Control observes the dog or someone notices the situation and makes a call.
  • Sometimes a dog is taken for a walk to the grocery store; the dog is tied-up and the owner goes inside to shop. Unfortunately, the owner may exit from a different door and then walks home completely forgetting their dog is still tied up at the store.
  • Tied dogs sometimes break free of their restraint and become "at large"
  • Occasionally tied dogs are purposely set-free by persons with varied intentions/causes

These are real situations and they occur more frequently than you would expect.

We investigate these circumstances to ensure public safety and for the welfare of the dog.

If you are going to take your dog to a public place give it your full attention.  If you can't, you should leave your dog at home.


Riding a bicycle with your dog

A person must not exercise a dog by allowing it to run next to a bicycle unless the dog is attached to the bicycle by an apparatus that allows the person to retain two-handed control of the bicycle at all times.

Russ Hay's Bicycles sells a device called the "Springer".  It permits the rider to maintain two-handed control of their bicycle at all times.  Russ Hay's Bicycles: 650 Hillside Ave., Victoria, BC (250) 384-4722  www.russhays.com


Exercising a dog beside a moving motor vehicle

  • Leashed or not: this activity is irresponsible, foolish and unnecessarily risks the dog's life.
  • All Violators will receive a $200 ticket.  Strictly enforced.  No exceptions.

Leash Optional Areas (LOAs)

There are 13 LOAs in the City of Victoria where owners can lawfully exercise their dogs without a leash.
For specific details visit the City of Victoria's Paws in Parks page or our section on Leash Optional Areas.

If you wish to make your opinions known about dogs and parks please use the following email address: dogfeedback@victoria.ca