About the Toronto collar ban
On March 1st, 2017, a bylaw banning the use of prong, choke, and chain collars came into effect in the City of Toronto.
The collar ban bylaw was quickly repealed temporarily after thousands of people wrote their councillors and the Mayor stating their objection, and hundreds, including the Canadian Kennel Club, Petsmart, and The Canadian National Institute for the Blind, submitted comments to the council meeting where an amended motion to exempt Service Dogs was up for a vote.
Council members quickly pulled together a motion to repeal the Toronto collar ban entirely pending further investigation by Municipal Licensing and Standards (MLS).
Fight the Toronto Collar Ban – MLS investigation and consultation
Although Municipal Licensing and Standards (MLS) has investigated this issue and has consulted extensively with the public, there will be further consultation over the summer before the Toronto collar ban will be brought before the Licensing and Standards Committee (LSC) again on September 18th, 2017.
We are working with stakeholders to get as many involved in the process as possible, and are collecting testimonials from service dog users, veterinarians, groomers, trainers, dog owners, etc.
Please contact MLS to get involved in the consultation process, and send us a testimonial about what using prong, slip, and chain collars has meant for you, and how a ban will negatively affect you.
For general enquiries you can reach us through our Contact page.
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Notes on the City of Toronto ban on choke and prong collars
May 27 2013
Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker introduces a letter at the Licensing and Standards Committee (LSC) meeting calling for ban on “choke and pinch collars”.
Sep 3 2013
Municipal Licensing and Standards (MLS) reports on proposed amendments, including De Baeremaekers’s ban request.
“Other practices that have raised concern include the use of choke and pinch collars as a training tool. At the moment, there is no consensus as to whether these collars are inhumane. Some would argue that the tool is only as humane as the user. TAS will provide education material on its website to inform residents about the potential pitfalls of using choke and pinch collars. However, the proposal to ban the use of these items in the City of Toronto will necessitate further research and stakeholder consultations, particularly with dog trainers.”
Sep 7 2016
MLS reports on new dangerous dog legislation after extensive public consultation, suggesting “prohibition on the use of pronged or choke collars for tethering”.
Sep 21 2016
First LSC meeting, no discussion about prong collars. De Baeremaeker puts forward various motions including a complete ban on choke and prong collars, outside the scope of the MLS report. De Baeremaeker tells the committee that city staff have approved a general ban. Committee approves proposed amendment motions without further discussion.
“I’m asking staff to report back on […] banning the use of choke collars, chain, or prong collars just in general. I’ve talked to staff about it, they’re fine with it…”
Nov 16 2016
MLS reports back on proposed amendments, specifically recommending against a full ban in response to De Baeremaeker’s motion.
“Based on the use of the choke collar, chain or pronged collar for leash correction, staff are not recommending a complete ban at this time.”
Results of online survey following Sep 21 LSC meeting:
● Only 45% of respondents wanted choke, chain, and prong collars banned
● Only 6% expressed specific concerns about abuse when used for training
Nov 23 2016
Public notice given for second LSC meeting, public invited to comment on proposed amendments. Meeting agenda and proposed bylaw amendments only refer to banning the use of collars for tethering (per Nov 16 MLS report).
Nov 30 2016
Second LSC meeting. In discussion with members of public, De Baeremaeker refers to prong collars as “barbed wire around a dog’s neck” and says some owners use them in an “aggressive, domineering, and punitive way to beat down a dog”. Also calls prong collar users “lazy” multiple times and says they just want to “beat down and strangle their dog instead of training it”. No professional trainers present at this meeting, only members of the public with dangerous dog issues and members of an animal welfare group De Baeremaeker admits he knew prior to the meeting.
At the end of meeting, De Baeremaeker puts forward various amendment motions to send to council, acknowledging he is ignoring city staff recommendations on collar ban. Committee votes them in as a package without any discussion about the ban.
“I’m going to move that the use of choke collars, choke chains, prong collars, or any similar device on dogs be prohibited. Staff said to do that only when they’re tethered, but I think if you’re walking your dog, this is not the way you should be controlling your dog — through violence and through pain.”
Dec 14 2016
Original council meeting to vote on amendments. De Baeremaeker calls prong collars a “cruel, inhumane, and barbaric practice”, and mentions a dog surrendered to TAS with an embedded prong collar as if it were a typical example of every day use and not a case of neglect and abuse. He again claims that city staff have recommended a full ban.
“I would encourage my council colleagues to support the report including things like banning prong collars on dogs which is a cruel, inhumane, and barbaric practice […] I’m very glad that our staff have recommended that these be banned…”
Amendment motion as presented to council includes a full ban on choke, chain, and prong collars as part of a poorly-worded sentence about the proposed tethering limit. Actual proposed bylaw amendment from council meeting agenda and public notice only bans tethering with collars. Public notice was extremely misleading, and it isn’t clear whether most councillors understood they were voting for a full ban.
Jan 24 2017
City solicitor discovers discrepancy between amendment motion and proposed bylaw amendment, issues report with new wording that will require a second council vote.
Jan 31 2017
Second council vote on amendment. De Baeremaeker tells council this is a minor “quick release” amendment that will only be “correcting grammatical errors”. He has to have a city clerk fix his new amendment motion because it doesn’t have an exemption for Toronto Police Service. With respect to collars, De Baeremaeker tells council they are only approving an exemption for martingale collars and lowering tethering limit.
Comment on TPS exemption: “…exempting the Toronto Police Service from the provisions of the chapter because they have specially trained animals that have specially trained staff and they’re professionals and we’re very happy with what they do.”
Mar 12 2017
Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) releases a statement asking the City of Toronto to amend and clarify the wording of the collar ban bylaw to ensure it doesn’t affect their training tools and equipment.
Mar 16 2017
MLS executive director Tracey Cook releases statement saying MLS will not be enforcing the bylaw for service animals and will be reviewing the bylaw.
“…I can confirm that the City will not be undertaking any enforcement action on the prohibition of collars, as it relates to recognized service animals.”
Mar 23 2017
Councillors Burnside and De Baeremaeker submit motion to have ban amendment re-opened for further consideration and research from MLS, acknowledging service dog trainers use choke and prong collars and were not consulted during the process.
“Recent changes to Chapter 349, Animals, have raised concerns amongst organizations that use choke or prong collars for training purposes for service dogs. Some of the concerns point to lack of consultation with the organizations that rely on these types of training.”