Full Statute Name:  Northwest Territories Statutes Dog Act

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Popular Title:  Dog Act Primary Citation:  R.S.N.W.T. 1988, c. D-7, s. 1 Country of Origin:  Canada Last Checked:  April, 2015 Date Adopted:  1988

This set of laws comprises the Northwest Territories Dog Act. Under the Act, owners may not allow their dogs to run loose and must provide them with sufficient food and water. Further, the law provides that no person shall punish or abuse a dog in a manner or to an extent that is cruel or unnecessary or drive a dog or dog team on a sidewalk situated on the street or road of a settlement. The law also sets forth the procedure for the impoundment and release of dogs. For the latest version of this Act, see the pdf.

Documents:  PDF icon NWTerritoriesCanada.pdf (63.16 KB)



s 1. 

1(1) Definitions

In this Act,

"dog" includes male and female dogs and an animal that is a cross between a dog and a wolf; ("chien")

"muzzle" means to secure the mouth of a dog in such a fashion that it cannot bite anything; ("museler")

"officer" means a person appointed or authorized to be an officer under section 2; ("agent")

"owner" means a person who owns, harbours, possesses or has control or custody of a dog. ("propriétaire")

1(2) Running at large

For the purposes of this Act, a dog is running at large if it is off the premises of its owner and is not

(a) muzzled; or

(b) under the physical control of a person.


s 2.

2(1) Appointment of officers

The Commissioner may appoint persons to be officers for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act.

2(2) R.C.M.P.

Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are, by virtue of that office, officers under this Act.

2008, c. 8, s. 7(2)


s 3. Food and water

No owner shall allow a dog to remain unfed or unwatered sufficiently long

(a) to amount to cruelty; or

(b) to cause the dog to become a nuisance.


s 4. Punishment and abuse

No person shall punish or abuse a dog in a manner or to an extent that is cruel or unnecessary.


s 5. No owner shall permit a dog to run at large

(a) contrary to a municipal bylaw;

(b) within a Territorial Park; or

(c) in an area that is not within a municipality or a Territorial Park.

2008, c. 8, s. 7(3)

s 6.

6(1) Dogs in harness

No person shall leave a dog in harness within a settlement or within one kilometre of a settlement unless the dog is

(a) muzzled; or

(b) under the custody and physical control of a person over 16 years of age who is capable of ensuring that the dog will not harm the public or create a nuisance.


6(2) Driving dogs on sidewalk

No person shall drive a dog or dog team on a sidewalk situated on the street or road of a settlement.



s 7.

7(1) Seizure

An officer may seize a dog from a person whom the officer

(a) finds contravening this Act; or

(b) has good cause to suspect of having contravened or being about to contravene this Act.


7(2) Recovery by owner

Subject to subsection (6), an officer who has seized a dog under subsection (1) may, in the officer's discretion, restore possession of the dog to its owner where

(a) the owner claims possession of the dog within five days after the date of seizure; and

(b) the owner pays to the officer all expenses incurred in securing, caring for and feeding the dog.


7(3) Sale by public auction

Where, at the end of five days, possession of a dog has not been restored to the owner under subsection (2), the officer may sell the dog at public auction.


7(4) Distribution of proceeds

The proceeds of a sale of a dog by public auction shall be distributed as follows:

(a) all expenses incurred in securing, caring for and feeding the dog shall be paid to the officer;

(b) the expenses of the public auction shall be paid;

(c) any balance shall be paid to the owner or, if the owner cannot be found within a reasonable period of time after the sale, shall be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.


7(5) Where dog not sold


(a) a dog has not been claimed within five days after seizure under subsection (2), and

(b) no bid has been received at a sale by public auction,

the officer may destroy or dispose of the dog as the officer sees fit at any time after the auction and no damages or compensation may be recovered on account of its destruction or disposal by the officer.


7(6) Destruction of injured dogs

Where, in the opinion of an officer, a dog seized under this section

(a) is injured, or

(b) should be destroyed without delay for humane reasons or for reasons of safety,

the officer may destroy the dog as soon after seizure as the officer thinks fit without

(c) permitting any person to claim the dog, or

(d) offering it for sale by public auction,

and no damages or compensation may be recovered on account of its destruction by the officer.


7(7) Bylaws of municipality

Where the seizure of a dog is made for contravention of a municipal bylaw respecting dogs, the provisions of the bylaw respecting the impounding, selling or destruction of dogs apply instead of the provisions of this section.

2008, c. 8, s. 7(4)



s 8.

8(1) Where unable to seize

Where an officer is unable to seize a dog that is running at large contrary to this Act, or an order, rule or regulation made under this Act, the officer may destroy the dog.


8(2) No damages payable for destruction

No damages or compensation may be recovered on account of the destruction of a dog by an officer under subsection (1).

Protection From Dogs

s 9. Destruction of dogs

A person may kill a dog that is running at large and in the act of pursuing, attacking, injuring, damaging, killing or destroying

(a) a person;

(b) another dog that is tethered;

(c) a food cache, harness or other equipment; or

(d) cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, poultry or animals on a fur farm.

s 10.

10(1) Proceedings against owner

On complaint made on oath before a justice of the peace that an owner has a dog that has, while running at large, committed any of the acts set out in section 9, the justice may issue a summons directed to the owner of the dog requiring the owner to appear before the justice at a time and place stated in the summons to answer the complaint.

10(2) Order

On summary conviction on the evidence of one or more credible witnesses other than the complainant, the justice of the peace may make an order for the destruction of the dog within three days and where the dog is not destroyed pursuant to the order, the justice may, in his or her discretion, impose a fine not exceeding $20 on the owner.

s 11. Action for damages not barred

No conviction or order under section 10 bars the owner of cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, poultry, animals on a fur farm, a tethered dog, a food cache, harness or other equipment from bringing an action for the recovery of damages for injury done to these animals or things by a dog.

s 12. Nature of proof in civil action

It is not necessary for the plaintiff in an action referred to in section 11 to prove that the defendant knew of the propensity of the dog to pursue, worry, injure or destroy animals and the liability of the defendant does not depend on previous knowledge of that propensity.

Offence and Punishment

s 13.

13(1) Offence and punishment

Every person who contravenes this Act is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $25 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 30 days.

13(2) Destruction order

The presiding territorial judge or justice of the peace may, on conviction of an owner for an offence under this Act, order the destruction of any dog of that owner that the judge or justice considers should be destroyed for humane reasons or for the safety of the general public.

Regulations and Rules

s 14. Regulations and rules

The Commissioner, on the recommendation of the Minister, may make regulations and rules for carrying out the purposes and provisions of this Act.


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