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Wild Animal Law of Canada

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Municipal-Related Acts (NS)

(current to 15 October 2016)
Note Re Application of these Municipal-Related Acts

These two Acts, the Municipal Government Act ('MGC') and the city-specific Halifax Regional Municipality Charter ('HRMC'), delegate legislative authority to local municipalities respecting animals, both domestic and wild as explained below.

This law bears on the wildlife issues of:
  • PROTECTION
  • FACILITIES
  • MUNICIPAL
The full current text of these Acts and their Regulations may be viewed at the Nova Scotia statute website.

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Table of Contents
1. Overview
2. Traditional Dog-Specific Jurisdiction
3. Broad Animal By-Law Authority
4. Rabid Animals
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1. Overview

The two major municipal-related statutes in Nova Scotia are the Municipal Government Act ('MGA') and the Halifax Regional Municipality Act ('HRMC'). The latter is essentially a tailored version of the former, taking account the status of the Halifax/Dartmouth region as being the largest metropolitan area in the province. They have essentially identical animal-related provisions.


2. Traditional Dog-Specific Jurisdiction

First, it is worth noting that both statutes contain delegation of by-law authority to municipalities respecting dogs and their regulation, including:
  • dog tags, dogs running at large, impoundment and sale/euthanasia of strays [MGA 175, HRMC 193];

  • dangerous dogs [MGA 176, HRMC 194].
In this regard they embody traditional municipal animal authority found in most other Canadian provinces.


3. General Animal By-Law Authority

However, similar to Ontario, NS municipalities also have by-law authority to "make by-laws respecting ... wild and domestic animals and activities in relation to them" [MGA 174 (f), HRMC 192(f)].

This broad by-law authority arguably opens the door to local municipalities making by-laws for a wide range of 'activities', including regulation of exotic pets, animal welfare issues, circuses and zoos, and more.


4. Rabid Animals

There is an additional (non-bylaw) provision in both Acts which simply provides that "(a) person may kill or destroy a rabid dog or other rabid animal found at large and may secure and confine a dog or other animal at large and appearing to be rabid or exhibiting symptoms of canine madness" [MGA 178, HRMC 196]. This could apply to any wild animal contracting the disease.

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