Animals can sometimes cause problems, or make people feel unsafe. This section explores pet owner responsibilities and problems with wildlife.


Pets can be wonderful companions, but if you own a pet, you’re responsible for making sure they don’t disrupt your neighbourhood.

The City of Ottawa offers information on animal care and control, , including cat and dog registration, and spay and neuter clinics.

If you own a dog, or are having problems with a dog in your community, read the Dog Owners Liability Act online.

Cleaning up after your dog

Dog waste is unpleasant. It’s a public health hazard and it pollutes the environment. What can you do about it?

  • The City of Ottawa encourages flushing pet waste down the toilet to be treated at the sewage plant.
  • Dog owners can place the waste in their regular garbage as long as it is properly wrapped in absorbent paper and placed in a sealed, leak-proof bag.

City by-laws require that you pick up after your dog. You must take waste home and dispose of it in your own garbage

Dogs in parks 

Parks are a great place to exercise your dog, but keep in mind that other people also use those parks. You are responsible for knowing where dogs are allowed, and whether they must be leashed. Many parks have signs that tell you what is expected.

Rural and wild animals

If you live in a rural area, you may come across many different animals, including livestock, wild animals, migratory birds and domestic pets. There are rules and regulations rules and regulations for hunting and managing wildlife.


Although black bears are usually shy and stay away from humans, they may come across Ottawa residents in their search for food between mid-April and late fall.

Be bear aware: don’t leave pet food outdoors. Bears can also be attracted to the area if you have bird feeders, barbecue, composter, fruit trees, sweet corn or grain fields on your property.

The Bear Wise website offers some precautions you can take to avoid attracting black bears:

  • Put garbage out only on the morning of collection
  • Store garbage in waste containers with tight-fitting lids
  • Put away bird feeders and offer natural alternatives like flowers, nesting boxes and fresh water.
  • Clean outdoor grills after each use, including the grease trap underneath

To deal with bear problems:

  • Report any bear issues to the provincial Bear Reporting Line at 1-866-514-BEAR (2327)
  • In the event of a bear emergency, call police at 9-1-1

Small mammals

You’ll likely come across many small animals in Ottawa, from squirrels on your porch to raccoons digging through your garbage. This is often a normal part of sharing our natural environment, but at times, these animals can be a nuisance or even dangerous.

If you have a problem with wildlife on your property, call 3-1-1 for help. Do not approach or remove the animal, as it might become afraid and aggressive, and it could be carrying disease.

Feral Cats

Feral cats are cats with no owner. They roam freely and live as wild animals.

The Ottawa Humane Society believes in the following approach to managing cats in the city:

  • Proper licensing and identification
  • Neutering to prevent roaming and unwanted kittens
  • Vaccinating to prevent the spread of disease
  • Only allowing cats outside on a harness and under owner supervision
  • Not feeding stray cats

For more information