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Wild Animal Law of Canada


Municipalities Act (NB)

(current to 01 June 2016)
Note Re Application of the Municipalities Act ('MA')
The Municipalities Act sets out what by-law jurisdiction individual municipalities have, in this case respecting animals.

This law bears on the wildlife issues of:

The full current text of this legislation (including regulations) may be viewed at the New Brunswick statute website.


New Brunswick's Municipalities Act grants municipalities quite broad by-law jurisdiction respecting animals, both wild or domestic, as well as traditional municipal stray dog jurisdiction which is not covered here.

Specifically, councils may make by-laws [MA 96(1)]:
  • respecting animal control;

  • respecting the keeping of animals;

  • respecting disturbances by animals;

  • respecting the protection of persons and property from animals;

  • respecting the seizure of animals on private or public property;

  • respecting the licensing of animals;

  • defining fierce or dangerous animals, including defining them by breed, cross-breed or partial breed;

  • prohibiting or regulating the keeping of fierce or dangerous animals;

  • to require owners to show cause before a Provincial Court judge as to why an animal that has allegedly bitten or attempted to bite someone, should not be destroyed. If not ordered destroyed the court may Order that the owner "keep the animal under control";

    and lastly,

  • respecting any other matter or thing in relation to animals within the municipality.
With respect to this last 'any other' jurisdiction, it is a standard rule of statutory interpretation that where a statute sets out a list of items (as above) that things not on the list, by virtue of their non-inclusion, are implicitly excluded ("xpressio unius est exclusio alterius"). That principle however is expressly overridden here, so that the last-listed very broad power ("any other matter or thing in relation to animals") shall "be construed so as to give the council the broadest possible powers to make by-laws that the council considers advisable and necessary respecting animals within the municipality" [MA 96(3)].

That said, in the event of conflict between such by-laws and any other federal or provincial laws, those laws prevail over the by-laws [MA 96(4)].

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Last modified: 16-11-20
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