In urban and suburban areas of the City not zoned for agricultural purposes, the keeping of domestic farm animals and fowl (such as horses, donkeys, mules, cattle, goats, swine, chickens, ducks and geese) is prohibited. In areas where such livestock may be kept, it may not run-at-large. The keeping of rabbits and pigeons in urban areas is also regulated with certain standards for keeping and setting limits on numbers established.
Ottawa residents may not keep certain exotic or wild animals, known as "prohibited" animals.
Check the Animal Care and Control By-law for the detailed list (Schedule B). Regulations prohibiting the keeping of certain "exotic" animals existed in most of the former municipalities and are necessary for public health and safety, as well as animal welfare, particularly as it relates to appropriate care for species with highly specialized needs.
Having a problem with wildlife?
Calls about sick bats, bats found in sleeping areas, or bats that have been handled by a human or have bitten a human, may be referred to the City at 3-1-1. Click here for more information.
When it comes to information on and care for wild birds, the Ottawa area has one of the leading centres in Canada. The Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre is a registered charity operating under the authorization of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Canadian Wildlife Service. The Centre cares for sick, injured and orphaned wild birds before releasing them back into the wild. For more information, call the Centre at 613-828-2849 or visit its web site.
Please do not feed the birds. Feeding birds can create problems for the birds as well as for the environment. Many urban parks in Canada’s Capital Region are now inundated with gulls, ducks, geese and pigeons.
Reasons not to feed birds
- Can be detrimental to their health as it can lead to dietary and nutritional problems. Birds are better off building their reserves by moving from location to location in search of a healthy natural diet.
- Makes them less wary of people and may increase their risk of being harmed. Birds become more aggressive and competitive with each other as populations become concentrated; they also have to survive in a world filled with hazards such as dogs, cats, cars, and people.
- Contributes to population problems in a small area. As numbers increase, it creates safety hazards and can lead to habitat degradation. Their excrement may reduce water quality, and overgrazing can cause damage to grassy areas.
Facts about Canada geese in urban areas
Manicured parks, lawns and golf courses, bordering ponds or waterfront areas, provide an ideal grazing habitat for geese.
- An adult goose eats up to 1.8 kg (4 lb.) of grass daily and drops up to 0.9 kg (2 lb.) of fecal matter daily.
- Once geese have nested successfully, they typically return to the same nesting site year after year, as do their offspring. Left unchecked, urban goose populations can double in size every few years. Geese typically lay from three to six eggs each year and can live as long as 24 years.
- Geese are remarkably adaptable–they have been reported nesting in trees, roadside ditches, close to swimming pools and even on flat rooftops.
If you are experiencing a problem with a wild animal, such as a squirrel, racoon or skunk, do not panic and do not attempt to remove the animal. Visit wildlifeinfo.ca/conflicts.html for cost effective and humane solutions to common wildlife problems. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry regulates rehabilitation of wildlife and a permit from the MNRF is required. Wild animals may not be cared for in your home. Calls about injured wild animals may be referred to 3-1-1.
It is also important to be aware that there are Provincial regulations governing wildlife management. Learn more about rabies in Ontario at www.rabies.mnr.gov.on.ca (rabies cases, fact sheets, relocation, etc.). For information on rules and regulations regarding wildlife in captivity and authorizations, please contact the Kemptville District Office of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry at 613-258-8204.
All cats and dogs must be vaccinated against rabies - it's the law (Health Protection and Promotion Act) and in the best interest of your health and that of your family pet. Click here for more information.
Report prohibited exotic animals.
In June 2019, Council gifted the five remaining Royal Swans to Parc Safari Inc. in Hemmingford, Quebec. The goal was to ensure proper care of the ageing flock.
The City of Ottawa has operated the Royal Swan Program since 1967, when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II gave six pairs of Mute swans to the City in celebration of Canada’s Centennial. In 1974, the City received a pair of Australian Black swans in a trade with the Montreal Zoo.
Since that time, the swans and their descendants have resided on the Rideau River during the spring and summer months. During late fall and winter they were housed in an indoor facility. Parc Safari has provided optimum care for the Royal Swans over the winter months since 2016.
Gifting the Royal Swans to Parc Safari is the best option for the health and well-being of the animals. It eliminates the stress caused by transporting them long distances twice a year.
At Parc Safari, the remaining birds continue to receive care that includes: preventative and emergency veterinary attention, high quality feed, protected swimming areas, and a quiet and private environment.
A commemorative plaque will be installed at Parc Safari, providing information on the history of the Royal Swans and recognizing the gifting by the City of Ottawa.