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Pounds Act

R.S.O. 1990, CHAPTER P.17

Historical version for the period December 20, 2006 to December 31, 2006.

Amended by: 1999, c. 12, Sched. A, s. 21; 2002, c. 17, Sched. F, Table; 2006, c. 19, Sched. C, s. 1 (2); 2006, c. 32, Sched. C, s. 50.

Scope of Act

1. This Act is in force in every local municipality but the local municipality may by by-law passed under the Municipal Act, 2001 vary its application. 2002, c. 17, Sched. F, Table.

Note: On a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor, section 1 is amended by the Statutes of Ontario, 2006, chapter 32, Schedule C, section 50 by adding “or the City of Toronto Act, 2006, as the case may be” after “Municipal Act, 2001”. See: 2006, c. 32, Sched. C, ss. 50, 71 (3).

Liability of owners and others for damage done

2.The owner or occupant of any land is responsible for any damage caused by any animal under the person’s charge and keeping as though such animal were the person’s own property, and the owner of any animal not permitted to run at large by the by-laws of the municipality is liable for any damage done by such animal, although the fence enclosing the premises of the complainant was not of the height required by such by-laws. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.17, s. 2.

Animals not to run at large

3.No cattle, goat, horse, sheep or swine shall be allowed to run at large in any part of a territorial district not included in an organized municipality. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.17, s. 3; 1999, c. 12, Sched. A, s. 21.

Owner of animal liable for damages and fine

4.The owner of any cattle, goat, horse, sheep or swine running at large contrary to section 3 is liable in damages for all injuries committed by such animal or animals, and also is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $300. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.17, s. 4.

What animals to be impounded

5.(1)If not previously replevied, the poundkeeper shall impound any horse, bull, ox, cow, sheep, goat, pig or other cattle, geese or other poultry, distrained for unlawfully running at large or for trespassing and doing damage, delivered to him or her for that purpose by any person resident in the poundkeeper’s division who has distrained the same.


(2)If the owner of geese or other poultry refuses or neglects to prevent the same from trespassing on the premises of the owner’s neighbour after a notice in writing has been served upon the owner of their trespass, the owner is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $10. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.17, s. 5.

Notice to clerk as to animals impounded

6.Where an animal has been impounded, the poundkeeper shall, within twenty-four hours, deliver to the clerk of the municipality a notice in writing containing a description of the colour, age and natural and artificial marks of the animal, as nearly as may be. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.17, s. 6.

When the common pound is not safe

7.When the common pound of the municipality or place wherein a distress has been made is not secure, the poundkeeper may confine the animal in any enclosed place within the limits of the poundkeeper’s division within which the distress was made. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.17, s. 7.

Statement of demand to be delivered to poundkeeper by impounder

8.(1)The person distraining and impounding the animal shall, at the time of the impounding, deposit poundage fees, if demanded, and within twenty-four hours thereafter deliver to the poundkeeper duplicate statements in writing of the person’s demands against the owner for damages, if any, not exceeding $20, done by such animal, exclusive of poundage fees, and shall also give a written agreement, with a surety if required by the poundkeeper, in the following form or in words to the same effect in English or in French:

Form of agreement with poundkeeper

I (or we, as the case may be) do hereby agree that I or we) will pay to the owner of the (describing the animal), by me (A.B.) this day impounded, all costs to which the owner may be put in case the distress by me the said (A.B.) proves to be illegal or in case the claim for damages now put in by me the said (A.B.) fails to be established.

Release of animal on security being furnished

(2)The owner of an animal impounded is entitled to it at any time on demand made therefor, without payment of any poundage fees, on giving satisfactory security to the poundkeeper for all costs, damages and poundage fees that may be established against the owner. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.17, s. 8.

When animal may be retained by distrainor

9.(1)If the animal distrained is a horse, bull, ox, cow, sheep, goat, pig or other cattle, and if it is distrained by a resident of the municipality for straying in the resident’s premises, instead of delivering the animal to the poundkeeper, the resident may retain the animal in the resident’s own possession, if the resident makes no claim for damages done by the animal and duly gives the notices hereinafter required.

Notice to owner if known

(2)If the owner is known, the person distraining shall forthwith give the owner notice in writing of having distrained the animal.

If unknown, notice to clerk of municipality

(3)If the owner is unknown, the person distraining shall, within forty-eight hours, deliver to the clerk of the municipality a notice in writing of having distrained the animal containing a description of its colour, age and natural and artificial marks, as nearly as may be.

Duty of clerk thereon

(4)The clerk on receiving the notice shall forthwith enter a copy thereof in a book to be kept by the clerk for that purpose and shall post it or a copy thereof in some conspicuous place on or near the door of his or her office and keep it so posted for at least one week, unless the animal is sooner claimed by the owner.

If animals worth $10 or over

(5)If the animal or animals distrained at the same time is or are of the value of $10 or more, the distrainor shall cause a copy of the notice to be published in a newspaper in the area once a week for three successive weeks. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.17, s. 9.

Sale after notices

10.If an animal is impounded, notices for the sale thereof shall be given by the poundkeeper or person who impounded it within forty-eight hours afterwards, but no pig or poultry shall be sold until after four clear days, nor any horse or other cattle until after eight clear days, from the time of impounding it. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.17, s. 10.

If animal is not impounded, but retained

11.If the animal is a pig, goat or sheep and is not impounded but is retained in the possession of the person distraining it, the notices for the sale thereof shall not be given for one month, and, if the animal is a horse or other cattle, the notices shall not be given for two months after the animal was distrained. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.17, s. 11.

Notices of sale unless redeemed

12.The notices of sale shall be posted up for three clear successive days in three public places in the municipality and shall specify the time and place at which the animal will be publicly sold, if not sooner replevied or redeemed by the owner or some one on the owner’s behalf, paying the penalty imposed by law, if any, the amount of the injury, if any, claimed or decided to have been committed by the animal to the property of the person who distrained it, together with the lawful fees and charges of the poundkeeper and also of the fence-viewers, if any, and the expenses of the animal’s keeping. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.17, s. 12.

Food to be furnished impounded animal

13.Every poundkeeper and every person who impounds or confines, or causes to be impounded or confined, an animal in a common pound or in an open or close pound, or in an enclosed place, shall daily furnish the animal with good and sufficient food, water and shelter during the whole time that it continues impounded or confined. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.17, s. 13.

Recovery of expenses

14. (1) Every such person who furnishes an animal with food, water and shelter may recover the value thereof from the owner of the animal and also a reasonable allowance for the person’s time, trouble and attendance in the premises. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.17, s. 14 (1).

Procedure for recovery

(2) Such value and allowance may be recovered with costs by summary proceeding before the Ontario Court of Justice in like manner as fines, penalties or forfeitures for the breach of a by-law of the municipality in which the animal was impounded may by law be recovered and enforced by the court, and the court shall ascertain and determine the amount of such value and allowance when not otherwise fixed by law, adhering, so far as possible, to the tariff of poundkeeper’s fees and charges established by the by-laws of the municipality. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.17, s. 14 (2); 2006, c. 19, Sched. C, s. 1 (2).

Other mode of enforcing

15.The poundkeeper or person so entitled to proceed may, instead of such summary proceeding, enforce the remuneration to which the person is entitled in the manner hereinafter mentioned. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.17, s. 15.

Procedure for sale and disposal of proceeds

16.If it is proved by an affidavit sworn before a justice of the peace that the proper notices had been duly posted and published, then, if the owner or some one for the owner does not, before the sale of the animal, replevy or redeem it, the poundkeeper who impounded it or, if the person who distrained it did not deliver it to a poundkeeper but retained it in the person’s own possession, any poundkeeper of the municipality may publicly sell it to the highest bidder at the time and place mentioned in the notices, and, after deducting the penalty and the damages, if any, and the fees and charges, shall apply the proceeds in discharge of the value of the food and nourishment, loss of time, trouble and attendance so supplied, and of the expenses of driving or conveying and impounding or confining the animal, and of the sale and attending it, or incidental thereto, and of the damage when legally claimable, not exceeding $20, done by it to the property of the person by whom or at whose instance it was distrained, and shall return the surplus, if any, to its original owner, or, if not claimed by the owner within three months after the sale, the poundkeeper shall pay such surplus to the treasurer of the municipality. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.17, s. 16.

Disputes regarding demand for damages, how determined

17.(1)If the owner, within forty-eight hours after the delivery of the statements provided for in section 8 disputes the amount of damages so claimed, the amount shall be decided by the majority of three fence-viewers of the municipality, one to be named by the owner of the animal, one by the person distraining or claiming damages, and the third by the poundkeeper.

Fence-viewers to view and appraise damage

(2)The fence-viewers or any two of them shall, within twenty-four hours after notice of their appointment, view the fence and the ground upon which the animal was found doing damage, and determine whether or not the fence was a lawful one according to the statutes or by-laws in that behalf at the time of the trespass and if it was a lawful fence, or, if the animal was one not permitted to run at large by the by-laws of the municipality, they shall appraise the damages committed, and, within twenty-four hours after having made the view, shall deliver to the poundkeeper a written statement signed by at least two of them of their appraisement and of their lawful fees and charges.

Where fence not lawful

(3)If, in the case of an animal permitted to run at large, the fence-viewers decide that the fence was not a lawful one, they shall so certify in writing under their hands, together with a statement of their lawful fees to the poundkeeper, who shall, upon payment of all lawful fees and charges, deliver such animal to the owner if claimed before the sale thereof, but, if not claimed or if such fees and charges are not paid, the poundkeeper, after due notice as required by this Act, shall sell the animal in the manner before mentioned at the time and place appointed in the notices. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.17, s. 17.


18.Every poundkeeper or person who impounds or confines, or causes to be impounded or confined, an animal and refuses or neglects to provide and supply it with good and sufficient food, water and shelter is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine, for every day during which the person is so in default, of not less than $1 and not more than $4. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.17, s. 18.

Offence, fence-viewer

19.Every fence-viewer who neglects his or her duty under this Act is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of $2. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.17, s. 19.

Statement to be filed with clerk

20.Every poundkeeper and every person who distrains an animal under section 9 shall, on or before the 15th day of January in every year, file with the clerk of the municipality a statement for the year ending on the 31st day of December next preceding showing,

(a) the number of animals impounded or distrained, as the case may be;

(b) the number of animals sold and the amounts received;

(c) the sum received as poundage fees and cost of keep by the poundkeeper or party distraining;

(d) the damages paid by any party;

(e) all disbursements and to whom paid;

(f) any receipts and expenditures in connection therewith. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.17, s. 20.

Certifying statement

21.The statement shall be certified to by the poundkeeper or the person distraining as a true and accurate statement. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.17, s. 21.


22.Every poundkeeper or other person required to file such return, who neglects or refuses to file it on or before the 15th day of January in any year, is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $2,000. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.17, s. 22.