News release

Are You a Responsible Pet Owner? Learn More About the Standards of Care

City services | February 6, 2023

February is Responsible Pet Owner month. Mississauga Animal Services has many animals, including cats, dogs and other pets, like rabbits and guinea pigs, available for adoption. If you already own a pet, it’s important to ensure you’re providing them with the appropriate standard of care outlined in the Animal Care and Control By-law to help protect animals and ensure their well-being.

Adopting a pet

Adopting a pet can be a rewarding experience for you or your family while providing the pet with a permanent loving home. If you’re 18 years or older, you can adopt a pet from our Animal Services Shelter. The shelter is open to the public and no appointment is needed for adoption. If you are or have become an owner of a cat or dog, your pet must be licensed.

In addition, Animal Services welcomes foster parent volunteers to care for a pet in the short term until they are ready for adoption.

Grey rabbit in cage

Standards of pet care

By becoming a responsible pet owner, you are committing to providing your pet with the care they need to live a healthy, happy life. For example, pets can not be left outside in extreme weather. When it comes to enclosures like doghouses, they need to be large enough for the dog to comfortably move around in. It also must be safe and sanitary. The doghouse must comply with the City’s Zoning By-law.

Dog pens and enclosures must meet specific measurements based on the size and number of dogs inside. Animals must not be left in a pen or tethered for more than four consecutive hours. If tethered, the tether must be at least three metres or 9.84 feet, allowing the animal to move freely. The animal should be in view of the owner with access to food, water and shade.

Another area of responsible ownership includes providing veterinary care to pets to relieve distress from injury, neglect, or disease.

Visit our website to learn more about the standards of pet care.

Bowls with dog food and water on wood floor

Rehoming a pet

If you can no longer care for your pet based on these standards of care, consider rehoming your pet. Rehoming your pet means finding another home for them without surrendering them to the shelter. This means your pet won’t live at a shelter waiting to be adopted. By rehoming, you can communicate directly with the new owner and provide first-hand information about your pet.

To rehome your pet, visit Home to Home. This service is free and does not allow money to be exchanged between owners. If you have questions, concerns, or want to discuss other ways to rehome your pet, contact the Animal Services Shelter.

Woman putting carrier with cute Scottish fold cat into car, closeup

No excuse for cruelty

Animal Services has responded to several disturbing animal cruelty concerns in Mississauga over the past few years, including a cat being thrown from a moving vehicle. Officers also found a plastic storage container left outside the shelter with two terrified cats inside. They were confined inside with no food, water or place to relieve themselves. In both cases, Animal Services was able to rescue the animals, providing medical attention and a safe place to recover.

There is no reason to resort to cruelty. To report cases of animal neglect or cruelty, please call the Ontario Animal Protection Call Centre at 1-833-926-4625. Violating these laws can result in sentences such as two years of jail time, fines up to $130,000 as an individual and a lifetime ban on pet ownership, among others.

Cats huddled in shelter cage

Animal emergencies and rescue

Animal Services is available 24-7 to help with emergency animal rescue and investigate animal care complaints, dog bites, or by-laws. If you see an animal that is visibly sick or injured, suffering or in immediate distress, running in traffic, locked in a hot vehicle, or acting aggressively, call 905-896-5858 and choose Option One immediately.

Only call 911 if a person or pet’s life is in danger, a person has been seriously injured in an animal attack and needs medical attention or an animal attack is threatening public safety.

For more information, visit


Media Contact:
City of Mississauga Media Relations
905-615-3200, ext. 5232
TTY: 905-896-5151