Toronto’s booming condo industry inevitably means more pet dogs will be confined to living conditions that are less than ideal for animals more inclined to sprawling suburban backyards.
For some, the condo balcony is a band-aid solution, giving antsy dogs a small dose of the outdoors between walks.
But some prominent stories about dogs being left unattended, sometimes in the cold, have raised concerns about the practice.
Now one woman wants Toronto to enact a bylaw that would make it illegal to leave dogs on balconies for more than an hour.
Nicole Simone started a petition, calling for the city to step up to protect vulnerable pets.
“A residential balcony is not a yard,” Simone wrote.
“It is dangerous to dogs, residents, and the public. Dogs in [that] situation can face extreme weather conditions, violate noise bylaws, expel excrement on the public, and risk falling to their death. It therefore poses health and safety hazards for the citizens of Toronto.”
The petition seeks a fine of $350 for offenders. “If the owner is unreachable and the dog has been outside for more than an hour, emergency services and animal control may intervene to remove the dog from [that] situation until the owner can be located,” the petition further states.
So far, it has nearly 1,000 signatures, and numerous supportive comments.
“As more and more condos are being built in Toronto, it is imperative that we ensure that dogs are not relegated to balconies to suffer the dangers and boredom of such a situation,” Helen Swim wrote in the comments section of the petition.
“This bylaw is long overdue,” added Hazel Nightingale. “I live in an apartment and there are several buildings around me. I’ve seen several dogs being left on balconies in all kinds of weather, for hours at a time.”
Just a few weeks ago residents in Toronto’s Liberty Village rallied to save a dog that was left on a balcony in frigid temperatures.
A police officer was eventually summoned and the dog was rescued.
The owner wasn’t charged, apparently because the sliding door leading to the balcony was pushed closed by a strong gust of wind.
In 2013, a Scarborough dog owner was charged with failing to provide a suitable outside enclosure after neighbours complained about a dog being left on a feces-filled balcony.