​Is it legal to chain your dog in B.C.? - BC SPCA
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​Is it legal to chain your dog in B.C.?

If you suspect an animal is in distress, call the BC SPCA Animal Helpline: 1-855-622-7722. A BC SPCA Animal Protection Officer will follow up on the complaint and have educational materials to help owners transition their dog inside. If the animal is found to be in distress, the Animal Protection Officer will issue notices to the owner.

Sad dog outdoors tethered on a chain

Outdoor dogs and distress

When our Animal Protection Officers visit a property, they must determine if the animal is in distress.

The definition of distress is covered under the legislation that governs the BC SPCA, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA Act):

  • deprived of adequate food, water, shelter, ventilation, light, space, exercise or veterinary care
    • kept in conditions that are unsanitary
    • not protected from excessive heat or cold
  • injured, sick, in pain or suffering, or
  • abused or neglected

Sad tethered up dog on a chain in a wooden kennel

“Adequate” can be a subjective term. Officers use the following definitions to help clarify the term:

  • Adequate water: Access to clean, potable drinking water at all times
  • Adequate food: A sufficient quantity of suitable food to allow for normal growth and the maintenance of normal body weight and food receptacles that are clean, disinfected and located as to avoid contamination by excreta
  • Adequate shelter: A properly constructed shelter that ensures protection from heat, cold and dampness, and is appropriate to the weight and protective outer coat of the animal.

Learn more about municipal bylaws for chained and outdoor animals in B.C.