City of Nanaimo Bylaws
The following Bylaws regulate or have sections regulating the keeping of animals:


Licencing and Control of Animals Bylaw 1995 No.4923
Faeces Removal Bylaw 1980 No.2190
Parks, Recreation and Culture Regulation Bylaw 2008 No.7073
*Noise Control Bylaw 1994 No.4750

(*NACS does not enforce the Noise Control Bylaw. To make a complaint about a barking dog, please call the Bylaw Department at 250-755-4422)

The above Bylaws are not the official version. We do not warrant the accuracy, or completeness of this electronic version of the Bylaw and in no event will Nanaimo Animal Control Services Ltd. be liable or responsible for damages of any kind arising out of its use. For specific details please call us at 250 616 0233.



Animal ownership has its rewards and its responsibilities.  

The information on this page is provided to give dog owners a better understanding of their obligations and the authorities of Animal Control Officers.

  • Owners are required to meet the minimum standards of the Animal Control Bylaw (nothing more).

  • There can be legal consequences for non-compliance.

Top Five Bylaw Requirements Regulating the Care and Control of Dogs:

  1. Dogs must be firmly held on a leash in all public places (except designated Off Leash areas).

  2. Dogs over the age of four (3) months residing in the City of Nanaimo must be licensed & display a current year tag on their collar.

  3. Dogs are not permitted to roam off their own property unless on leash.

  4. Owners are responsible for the immediate removal & lawful disposal of any excrement deposited by their dog(s).

  5. Dogs are PROHIBITED from the following areas: playgrounds, cemeteries, water parks, and any beach within a park during the summer months (May 1st - Oct 1st).


Animal Control Officers (ACOs) are appointed or authorized by Council to enforce Animal Control Bylaws.

  • Officers can investigate any circumstance in which a dog is found (public or private property) to ensure minimum standards of the Animal Control Bylaw are being adhered to.

  • Anyone in possession of an animal is required to abide by bylaw regulations.

  • Any person found in care and control of a dog is required to identify themselves (name, address & phone number) and provide information about the dog, specifically: licence status, breed, sex, age, name, general description, number of dogs kept on the premises.


Animal Control Officers (ACOs) are Peace Officers.


It has been established through case law that ACOs are Peace Officers when they are enforcing a bylaw. Persons who fail to provide required information, provide false information, run away or prevent an ACO from conducting their lawful duty can be charged under the bylaw and/or charged criminally for Obstructing a Peace Officer. Animal Control Officers can use their Citizens Power of Arrest and arrest persons who obstruct them and hold the violator for police. ACOs may also detain anyone in possession of a dog to determine whether bylaw regulations are being met and continue the detention for the purposes of issuing a Warning Notice, Bylaw Offence Notice, or to seize and impound a dog.

Voluntary compliance is the goal.

  • ACOs seek voluntary compliance and want dog owners to know "a little cooperation goes a long way".

  • ACOs are more likely to give a verbal or written warning rather than issue a ticket or impound a dog.

  • In 2016 ACOs issued 869 warnings and issued only 142 Bylaw Offence Notices (fines).

  • ACOs do not have quotas, nor are they directed to generate revenue through ticketing.

  • ACOs do not earn commissions on any revenue generated by their enforcement actions. 100% of all revenue collected is remitted to the City of Nanaimo.

  • ACOs have free leashes and free poop bags and give them out (free) to any dog owner who may be in need of these items, thereby enabling immediate compliance with basic bylaw regulations.

  • ACOs also carry and sell dog licences directly from their vans (cash & VISA accepted). Those persons who cannot immediately purchase a licence are usually given a warning notice with adequate time to purchase a licence.

The City of Nanaimo recognizes the value of dog ownership, but they also support non-dog owners and their right to use parks and public places without suffering nuisance or aggression from dogs. Nanaimo has limited green space and in those parks with designated Off Leash areas the lands are shared-use spaces (not exclusive to dogs). Dog Owners must still have adequate control over their dogs when using these areas. ACOs frequently patrol all parks to ensure bylaw compliance.


Education or Enforcement

  • Although ACOs constantly work to educate pet owners about Animal Control regulations and responsible pet ownership it is ultimately the owner’s responsibility to ensure they know all applicable regulations pertaining to the care and control of their animal. 

  • Responsible owners will seek out information from websites, posted signs, City Hall, Animal Control, etc. to ensure their actions are in compliance with Bylaw regulations.

  • Persons who provide false information or flee from Animal Control Officers or are chronic violators can expect punitive enforcement actions (fines / impoundment fees / charges).

  • Persons who fail to act responsibly with their dogs, jeopardize often hard fought for privileges earned by other dog owners.

  • ACOs are permitted to use discretion when making enforcement decisions.  Discretion = freedom to choose.  ACOs may choose to issue a Ticket or Impound an animal.  Discretion doesn't necessarily mean the violator gets a break.