Under the microscope: Dog Control Act

On March 3, 2020, in order to provide itself with uniform rules, the Quebec government adopted the Regulation respecting the application of the Act to promote the protection of persons by establishing a framework for dogs.

Although it has now been in place for more than a year, this law includes several new features or changes that deserve to be highlighted…

Sous la loupe : Loi sur l’encadrement des chiens - SPA Estrie

WHY this new regulation?

Over the past few years, several municipalities have put in place bylaws to regulate the presence of dogs on their territory. However, the Government of Quebec has deemed it important to create a regulation to standardize everything.

According to the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation, this regulation would allow ;

  • “A better picture of the dog population through mandatory registration of all dogs ”

  • “the establishment of minimum standards for the control and ownership of dogs”

  • “Increased custody standards for potentially dangerous dogs”.

  • “inspection and enforcement powers for municipalities”.

WHERE and WHEN does it apply?

As of March 2020, this regulation is in effect throughout Quebec at all times. All dogs and their guardians are subject to this regulation.

WHO is responsible for its implementation?

The government has delegated authority to Quebec municipalities to enforce this regulation. Several municipalities in the Eastern Townships have chosen to delegate some of the responsibilities to the Société protectrice des animaux de l’Estrie.

WHAT DOES THIS IMPLY for me and my dog?

The regulation states;

  1. “The owner or guardian of a dog must register it with the local municipality of his or her principal residence within 30 days of acquiring the dog, establishing his or her principal residence in a municipality, or the day on which the dog reaches the age of 3 months.”

If you live in a municipality served by the SPA de l’Estrie, you can register your dog directly with us. Visit our online registration form, or contact our licensing department by phone at 819 821-4727 option 4, to register your pet.

  1. « In a public place, a dog must at all times be under the control of a person capable of handling it. »
    You or the person walking your dog in a public place must have good control of the animal’s movements. For example, if you come across someone on a trail who says they do not want to make contact with your dog, you must be able to control your dog to avoid contact.
  1. « (…) a dog must also be kept on a leash of a maximum length of 1.85 m. A dog weighing 20 kg or more must also wear a halter or harness attached to its leash at all times.»
    Make sure your leash is no longer than 1.85 m (6 feet). Also, in some cities, such as Sherbrooke, retractable leashes are prohibited. If your dog weighs more than 20 kg (66 lbs), take the time to choose between a halter or a harness for the comfort of you and your dog when going outside.
  1. « A dog may not be on a property belonging to a person other than its owner or keeper, unless the presence of the dog has been expressly authorised. »
    At home, you must ensure that your dog is not allowed to leave the boundaries of your property. He should be restrained or in a fenced area. When your dog is free on your property, you should be outside with him to monitor his movements.

WHO CAN REPORT an aggressive incident?

Doctors and veterinarians
Doctors are obliged to report a biting incident on a human. Veterinarians must report the incident when they have reason to believe that the dog may pose a risk to the safety of others.

All citizens
If you have witnessed or been a victim of an aggressive incident involving a dog and you live in a municipality served by the SPA de l’Estrie, we invite you to report it here.

*If you do not live in a municipality served by the SPA de l’Estrie, contact your municipality directly.

WHAT ARE THE STEPS after a biting incident has been reported?

Once the report has been made, a series of actions will be initiated by your municipality with the involvement of the SPA de l’Estrie in order to evaluate the aggression incident.

WHAT ARE THE FINES under this regulation?

$250 to $750

A dog not registered with the SPA or whose licence has not been renewed

$500 to $1500

A guardian who does not control his dog, who does not keep it on a leash, who does not make it wear its harness or halter (20 kg and +) in a public place

$1000 to $2500

A guardian of a dog declared potentially dangerous who does not respect the specific custody standards required by the municipality.

$1000 à $10 000

The guardian of a dog who fails to undergo a behavioural assessment or who fails to comply with the orders of the municipality (euthanasia or other measure)

For all criminal provisions related to the application of the Regulation, see Section 6 of the Implementing Regulation.


We suggest that you first consult a veterinarian to make sure that a health problem is not the cause of the behaviour. If the health problem is not the cause of the behaviour problem, your veterinarian will then be able to recommend a colleague specialised in canine behaviour or a canine behaviourist who is a member of the RQIEC and APCP associations.

If your dog is over 20kg, you are required to use a harness or halter when you go out in public with your dog. We invite you to read the following blog post to make the right choice for you and your dog.

At first glance, the basket muzzle may seem intimidating. However, once properly installed on your dog, it can be very useful. If your dog has to wear a muzzle because he has to, or because you want to use it as a preventive measure, it is important to know how to desensitize your dog to its presence. Take the time to watch this video to learn a method to get your dog used to wearing a muzzle.

Sous la loupe : Loi sur l’encadrement des chiens - SPA Estrie

Under the microscope, you and your dog

Check to see if you and your canine companion are legal and well informed.

    Answer: If you live in a municipality serviced by the SPA de l'Estrie, you must register your dog with the SPA.
    Answer: Each year, in January, you receive a renewal notice in the mail. You have until the following February 15 to renew.
    Answer: It is important to check the length of your leash to ensure that you are complying with the regulations in place.
    Answer: A halter or harness is mandatory to comply with the regulations. Take the time to make the right choice and consult our blog article on this subject.
    Answer: The SPA de l'Estrie will give you an ID tag when you register your dog. It is important to add it to your pet's collar so that it remains visible at all times. If you have lost, or the numbers are damaged on your current tag, contact us and we can send you a new one free of charge.
    Answer: Your dog must stay on your property when he goes outside. You must take the necessary measures to prevent him from running away.
    Answer: On your own property or in a public place, your dog's waste must be picked up and disposed of in a sanitary manner.
    Answer: It is always possible to train your dog to walk on a leash in order to be more confident when going out in public places. Ask a specialist to learn the right way to train your dog. Also, make sure you have a leash (1.85m) and a halter/harness if your dog is over 20kg.