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Livestock and animals

Dogs and cats

Dogs in rural areas often take on a working role including predator control, livestock guardians and the home security system. Cats can be found in the barn keeping the rodent population under control. Most dogs and cats are also family pets. Whether you reside in urban or rural Ottawa, dogs and cats are subject to the same animal control bylaws including pet registration and noise complaints from barking dogs.

The City advocates and promotes responsible pet care and ownership for all residents in urban, suburban and rural areas. The Animal Care and Control By-law helps ensure public health and safety while promoting the appropriate care for animals.

Number of cats and dogs allowed

There is a limit on the number of dogs and cats over 20 weeks of age per household:

  • Three dogs in all areas of the city including residents of rural Ottawa.
  • Five cats in areas not zoned agricultural. There is no restriction on the number of cats kept in zoned agricultural, general rural, rural-agricultural or marginal resource.
  • Where both dogs and cats are kept, a total of five animals are permitted with the maximum of three dogs.

Cat and dog registration

Residents in rural areas should register their dogs and domestic cats through the City’s pet registration service. A numbered metal tag will be provided to attach to your pets collar for its safety and identification. Registrations expire April 30 of each year. Fees for registration vary depending on whether the animal is sterilized and/or microchipped.

Lost and found pets

If you have lost or found a pet, please refer to the Lost and found section of the Ottawa Humane Society. Find out all the steps for reporting a lost animal and helpful hints for finding and reuniting pets with their owners.

Dogs in parks

The Animal Care and Control By-law provides for a variety of park usages or "designations" for dogs. There is a Dogs-in-Parks Designation Policy (DIPDP) that now applies.

For more detailed information, refer to the Dogs in parks Web page.

Kennel information

The city has enacted By-law 2013-107 with respect to boarding kennels, in-home breeding kennels and recreational kennels.

For building compliances regarding kennels, refer to by-law (Section 84) kennel provisions.


Traditional livestock such as dairy and beef cattle, horses, sheep, swine, goats and poultry are mixed with more unique farm animals like llamas, alpacas, emus, deer, elk, rabbits and waterfowl. Beekeeping is also popular because honeybees not only provide honey, beeswax and medicinal products, but they are essential for the pollination of agricultural crops, gardens, trees and flowers.

Predation and wildlife damage

Occasionally livestock or poultry are killed or badly hurt by coyotes, wolves, dogs or other predators. If you are a farmer with a business registration number and have lost livestock because of predators, claims for compensation can be made to the City of Ottawa. Claimants also require a Premises ID number. Livestock kills by wildlife must be reported to the City as soon as possible within 48 hours by calling 3-1-1. 

A city-appointed Livestock Valuer will examine the situation based on the guidelines of the Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program. Do not remove your animal(s) until the valuator has visited the site. All claims for compensation under the Program are subject to the Livestock Valuer’s inspection and report. 

Predator control

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) provide extensive information on predator control including fencing options, use of livestock guard dogs and best management practices.

Discharge of firearms by-law – exemption for livestock protection

Residents of rural Ottawa are subject to the regulations as outlined in the City’s Discharge of Firearms by-law. An exemption to this by-law exists for rural residents and/or their agents which allows for the discharge of firearms in order to scare or destroy animals that are found in the act of killing or injuring livestock or poultry, and wildlife destroying their property.

Livestock mortality disposal

Livestock mortality is a reality of rural life whether you manage a large livestock operation or own a small hobby farm. The removal and disposal of deadstock is regulated by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Nutrient management / assistance for local farmers

The Nutrient Management Act was instituted by the Province of Ontario in 2002 to manage materials containing nutrients to enhance protection of the natural environment and provide a sustainable future for agricultural operations and rural development. Along with other regulations, it specifies standards for the size, capacity, construction, design and location of buildings or structures that are used to store materials containing nutrients or to house farm animals. The Act may also require farmers to undertake additional excavations, such as the formation of earth barriers.

Funding for a Nutrient Management Plan or Turf Management Plan can be acquired through the City’s Rural Clean Water Grants Program for projects that protect surface water and groundwater quality and encourage effective use of available nutrient resources.

Rural clean water program

The Rural Clean Water Grants Program is a City of Ottawa environmental initiative to provide financial and technical assistance to rural landowners within Ottawa to encourage implementation of on-the-ground projects and best management practices that improve and protect water quality in local rivers, streams, creeks and groundwater reserves.

Areas related to livestock operations include:

  • Livestock access restriction to watercourse
    • To improve surface water quality by eliminating livestock access to watercourses
  • Milkhouse / milking parlour wash water treatment and disposal
    • To eliminate water quality impairment resulting from milkhouse and milking parlour wash water discharges to surface water and seepage into groundwater, and to encourage environmentally responsible management of wastewater.
  • Wastewater / manure storage
    • To prevent contamination of surface water and groundwater from wastewater and manure and to encourage environmentally responsible wastewater/manure handling practices.

Disposal of livestock medication

If you would like more information on becoming a Take It Back partner for livestock medication disposal, please contact the City of Ottawa Enviromental Services Department.

Line Fences Act

When a disagreement about fencing arises between neighbours, property owners may apply to the City of Ottawa to appoint fence-viewers under the Line Fences Act to arbitrate the dispute. As per City of Ottawa by-law 2011-350, this process only applies to land zoned as follows: O1O (Trans Canada Pipeline Subzone); O1P (Hydro Corridor Subzone); AG (Agricultural Zone); ME (Mineral Extraction Zone); MR (Mineral Aggregate Reserve Zone); RU (Rural Countryside Zone); DR (Development Reserve Zone); and EP2 and EP3 (Environmental Protection Subzones). A $357 application fee also applies. For more information, please contact the Rural Affairs Office.


Black bears

Black bears are generally shy and often stay away from people.  Bears actively feed from mid April until late fall and will travel up to 100 km to find food. They can be attracted to pet food that is left outdoors, bird feeders, barbecues, composters, fruit trees, sweet corn and grain fields.  If you need to report at bear problem, call the provincial Bear Reporting Line at 1-866-514-BEAR (2327). In the event of a bear emergency, call police by dialling 9-1-1. For complete information on dealing with bears including what farmers can do to keep bears at bay, see Bear Wise from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. 


Coyotes have adjusted to living near towns and farms and occasionally within cities. The coyote adapts its diet to available food sources like rodents, other small mammals, fruits, grasses, vegetables and even trash. Unfortunately, coyotes are increasingly responsible for livestock kill when easy prey is in reach such as sheep or a newborn calf. The Ontario SPCA has developed a fact sheet “Living with Coyotes” which includes guidelines on deterring coyotes from residential properties and protecting farm animals.  For more information, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry also information about preventing and managing conflicts with coyotes.


White-tailed deer are common in Ottawa and can often be spotted along roadways and open fields. Deer can destroy vegetable and flower gardens, ruin trees and shrubs and agricultural crops.  The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is responsible for managing deer populations in the province of Ontario.  Deer and vehicle collisions are a major safety concern especially during the fall hunting and mating season. During this time, the City of Ottawa embarks on an annual campaign that focuses on reducing deer and wildlife collisions.


The red fox typically lives on the edges of wooded areas and farms, but have been seen in villages, towns and even cities. Foxes only use dens when they are breeding. These dens are usually dug in sand and soil. Red foxes are nocturnal, but it’s not unusual for them to be spotted during the day. They also have excellent sight, smell and hearing abilities which helps them hunt. Foxes eat small mammals such as mice, voles, rabbits and beaver, fish, reptiles, fruits of all sorts and garbage. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has information about preventing and managing conflicts with foxes.


In general, wolves avoid contact with humans and tend to be nocturnal. Coyote are often mistaken for wolves because they are so similar. Wolves mostly eat white-tailed deer, smaller mammals and rodents. Occasionally, when the wolf’s natural food source is scarce, they will attack and kill livestock. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has information about preventing and managing conflicts with wolves.

Other mammals, bats and birds

See "Having a problem with wildlife?" for more information on wildlife.

City of Ottawa Wildlife Strategy

City Council directed staff to develop an integrated and comprehensive Wildlife Strategy centred on wildlife-sensitive planning, with a focus on public education and awareness programs. The final Strategy was approved by Council on July 17, 2013.

Hunting regulations in Ontario

For information about hunting specifically (e.g. open seasons), contact the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry or call 1-800-667-1940. You can also download a copy of the Hunting Regulations Summary.

Discharge of firearms

Although the City of Ottawa does not regulate hunting, the Discharge of Firearms By-law No. 2002-344 regulates the discharge of firearms within the boundaries of the City of Ottawa for public safety.

Discharge of firearms by-law – exemption for livestock protection

An exemption to this bylaw exists for “a farmer or his or her agent, in order to scare or destroy animals that are found in the act of killing or injuring livestock or poultry and wildlife destroying his or her property in accordance with the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, Chap.22 and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997, S.O. 1997, Chap. 41, as amended.”