Pet Patrol

You’ve seen the signs… Responsible Pet Ownership. What does it mean if you use Altona Forest’s protected woods and trails? Are you protected from uncontrolled animals? Did you know that there are fines for not being a responsible pet owner?

Leash – Dogs should be on-trail where they can’t damage or disturb sensitive wildlife. Your dog should always be on the leash. This is for the protection of children, hikers, other dogs, and everyone enjoying the trails and parks. Every year there are reports of people hurt, lost pets, pets hurt after engaging another animal, and the ingestion of toxins. With your dog on his leash, he’s much safer!

Dogs on leashes of up to 2m are welcome in Altona Forest. If the leash is longer than 2m, the dog is considered to be ‘off-leash’. There are no areas of Altona Forest that are off-leash approved, but Pickering does have an off-leash area at Grand Valley Park.

Poop and scoop – Your dog’s mess is your responsibility to pick up and remove to your garbage can. This means that you must carry out the dog waste from Altona Forest – take a couple of extra bags along. It doesn’t go in the green bin even if the bag is compostable, and it should never be left open in parks, trails or on the street. The dog waste gets washed into our sewers, streams and lakes and creates toxic waterways that effects many levels of ecology. Dog waste contains bacteria, parasites, worms and diseases that can harm you, your dog, and others. Dog feces also attract coyotes.


Not everyone is charmed by Lucius’ unbridled puppy enthusiasm – some people would find his greeting scary, unwelcome, threatening, or bothersome. My long-distance runner friend would run screaming if he was off his leash – a fear from childhood.

Cats – It is the law that your cat must remain on your property unless it’s leashed. Poop and scoop laws apply to cats too (it’s only fair!). Beyond the law, there are many poisons, diseases, worms, or other potentially life-threatening illnesses your cat encounters outside. There are cars, pesticides, and other suburban neighbourhood dangers. Dogs, foxes, or coyotes can also attack them if they wander near Altona Forest. Protect your cats; don’t let them wander.


On her leash in her backyard, Nuala can roam supervised. We’ve known of too many cats to get attacked or go missing. Being supervised, she also can’t kill any of the chipmunks or birds who make Altona Forest a viable ecosystem.

Be a responsible pet owner – it’s not only being a good neighbour, it’s the law.



Pickering’s Responsible Pet Ownership By-law states that all dogs must be leashed when off of the owner’s property, or have the consent of the land owner whose property the dog is on. If you see uncontrolled dogs or animals at large in Altona, contact Animal Services Pickering at 905.683.7575 immediately. Safety and security in public areas is everyone’s concern.

Responsibility of Owner or Person In Charge of any Dog or Cat

  • Every owner or person in charge of any dog or cat shall:
  • ensure that their pet is secured by a leash or chain that does not exceed two metres in length, except when in a designated off-leash area;
  • remove excrement left by the dog or cat;
  • provide adequate and appropriate care, food, water, shelter, exercise, attention and veterinary care as may be required to meet the need of the species;
  • ensure that the dog or cat has applicable current licenses and vaccination as may be required by law; and
  • ensure that the dog or cat is registered with the municipal government in which it resides (where required).

No owner or person in charge of any dog or cat shall, on TRCA lands, permit the dog or cat to:

  • make excessive noise or disturb other persons;
  • enter water designated for wading, bathing or swimming or be on the beach adjacent to that water;
  • be at large (an animal that is secured by a leash more than two metres long shall be considered to be at large), except in a designated off-leash area; and leave the dog or cat unattended for extended periods of time.
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