Animal Care and Control

New Westminster is proud to have a progressive animal care and control bylaw that focuses on responsible pet ownership, encompassing both public safety and good animal welfare. 

Here are the most basic and common responsibilities pet owners have under the New Westminster Animal Care and Control Bylaw. For more information, please view the consolidated bylaw here. Please contact us if you have any questions, and our Animal Services Officers would be happy to speak with you.

If you have concerns about public safety or animal welfare matters, please contact us at or 604-519-2008 (press 0 for urgent matters).

  • You are responsible for the well-being of the animals in your care. This includes providing adequate food, water, shelter, veterinary care, and comfortable and hygienic living conditions. Our bylaw prohibits the mistreatment of animals, such as physically striking or otherwise causing an animal to suffer.

  • Cats who live indoors can have long and healthy lives, especially when provided with mental and physical enrichment. Under our bylaw, cats are allowed to be at large (i.e., roam outdoors) only if they are spayed/neutered and have traceable permanent identification (such as a tattoo or microchip). This is to prevent cat overpopulation as well as reduce concerns of nuisance cat behaviour in the neighbourhood.

  • Licensing

    All dogs in New Westminster are required by law to wear a current dog licence. There is no minimum age so be sure to get your new puppy's licence right away. There is a limit of three dogs on any parcel of land or real property. Annual licence fees, forms, and general information can be found on the dog licensing page.

    Municipal dog licences are a valuable form of identification for your dog, and serve as proof of ownership. Dog licensing statistics provide important data when it comes to planning and developing dog-related services, such as off-leash areas. Also, the revenue from dog licensing fees helps fund the operation of the animal shelter, where we care for abandoned and unwanted animals.


    Many off-leash dog areas have been created throughout the city to help exercise your four-legged friends. With the exception of these designated areas, dogs are required by law to be leashed when off their owner’s property. Our animal services officers patrol city parks and trails to uphold the leash bylaw. A full list of designated off-leash areas and rules can be found at


    Dogs bark occasionally. We understand. However, it is up to you to ensure that your dog is not causing a disturbance in your neighbourhood with excessive barking or vocalization. We see an increase in barking reports when the weather warms up. Not leaving your dog unattended outside, and reducing their visual and aural triggers will help. If your dog has anxiety about being left alone, a professional trainer can help.

    Aggressive Behaviour

    You are responsible to ensure that your dog does not display aggressive behaviour toward or cause an injury to other animals or to people. This is another important reason to keep your dog leashed.

  • In New Westminster, there is a tiered classification system for dogs who pose a risk to the public, based on investigated incidents of the dog’s behaviour. As the owner of an aggressive, vicious, or dangerous dog, you are required to follow specific handling and housing regulations and are subject to significant fines and possible legal action if not in compliance. The intent of this is to ensure public safety and promote responsible pet ownership. More information regarding each classification and the regulations can be found in the Animal Care and Control Bylaw.

  • New Westminster has a Pet Store Bylaw, which prohibits the sale of any dogs, cats, pet rabbits, hare, or pika in a retail store, except for those offered for adoption from a recognized animal rescue society or shelter organization. To report an offence, please contact Bylaw Enforcement at 604-527-4657.