Responsible pet ownership starts with the understanding that owning a pet is a privilege, and that privilege comes with responsibility. Community Animal Services and the City of Lethbridge believe there are three pillars to pet ownership: Registration, Care, and Control. All pet owners have a responsibility to ensure the good welfare of the animals, and that they contribute to a safe and healthy community.

Learn more about animal care, control, and registration......

Care for your pets

The Animal Protection Act of Alberta and the Criminal Code of Canada require that owners provide reasonable care, and ensure their pets are free from distress. The following care must be provided;

  • Access to food and water adequate for the animals needs

  • Access to shelter, ventilation, and space

  • Protection from injuries heat and cold

  • Veterinarian care for illness or injury

Pet owners should always be prepared to provide their animals with proper food, shelter from the elements and veterinarian care. Before taking on an animal, consider the costs and time commitment pet ownership requires, as well, do research on the specific care requirements of the type and breed you are interested in.

Learn more about protecting pets from the cold.

Learn about protecting pets in hot weather.

For concerns of animal welfare, please call the Alberta SPCA at 1-800-455-9003

Parvovirus, distemper, rabies virus, heartworm, and many other illnesses are present in the environment and can be spread between pets, wildlife, and even people. The best way to protect the health of all pets in our communities is by vaccinating your cats and dogs. Speak with your veterinarian to determine the best vaccination options for your pets.

Control of your pets

Pet owners must ensure their animals are not a threat or nuisance to the public, which includes the following requirements;

  • Dogs must be contained to the owners' property and not run at large.

  • Dogs should not bark, whine, or howl in a way that creates a disturbance to others.

  • Dogs cannot do anything that causes injury to another animal or a person.

  • When in a public, dogs must be on a leash and under control, unless in a designated off-leash area.

  • Owners must pick up their dogs' feces and dispose of it in a trash bin.

  • Dogs are not permitted, at any time, to be in a schoolyard, nature reserve, cemetery, or on playground equipment.

View the Dog Control Bylaw 5235 for the City of Lethbridge.

The best practice is to monitor your dogs outside time on your property, this will reduce incidents of excessive barking, or a chance to escape the yard unnoticed. Take the time; weekly is recommended, to clean up and dispose of dog feces accumulating in your yard. This will prevent the spread of disease and eliminate any odors becoming a nuisance. A helpful tip is to use empty dog food bags to collect the feces and then dispose of in your black bin for collection.

Dog owners can be proactive in preventing a nuisance or dangerous pet with some of these tips;

  • Provide positive and frequent socialization with other animals and people, this is important to start at a young age

  • Frequent enrichment helps to ensure your dog is provided with physical and mental exercise. Try activities like leashed walks through community parks, running in off-leash areas, playing with toys at home like balls and rope toys, and puzzle games like searching for toys and treats.

Cat owners should prevent their pets from wandering the community. Unsupervised cats can easily create a nuisance to neighbors by defecating in gardens and yards, urinating on lawn furniture and other fixtures, harassing and killing small wildlife, and spreading disease to other pets.

Registration (pet licensing)

1 in 3 pets will go missing in their lifetime, ID gets them home.

Pet registration is the foundation of responsible pet ownership and befits all pet owners as a whole. A cat or dog license provides legal proof of ownership and allows the animal services team to quickly reunite lost animals with their owners. Annual licensing fees help support animal shelter programs and services like education campaigns, animal care, and adoptions.

  • All dogs six months of age and older, are required by law, to be licensed and renewed yearly.

  • The number of dogs is limited to 2, unless a fanciers permit has been issued.

  • Cats can be voluntarily licensed.

Initial pet registration with the city must be done in person; however, yearly renewals can be done quickly online.

Learn more about pet licensing here!

It is highly recommended to supplement your pets' tags with a properly registered microchip.