The Private Property Owner’s Responsibility
The private property owner is responsible for wildlife that does not pose a threat to public safety. The City has no legal obligation to be involved with nuisance, abandoned, or injured wildlife. Wildlife rehabilitators in Ontario are authorized by the Ministry of Natural resources to care for wildlife in distress until they can be released back into the wild.
Private property owners who accidentally trap wildlife are required to contact a pest control company or licensed trapper to assist. The municipality does not assist in the relocation or release of trapped or abandon wildlife on private lands.
Under normal circumstances, the By-law Enforcement Officer will not remove dead animals from private property. However, if the property owner has no way of disposing the animal, if the owner “bags” and places the dead animal by the sidewalk, the Officer will remove the carcass.
The City’s Responsibility
The City has a responsibility to protect its land from wildlife that pose a threat to public safety or property, some examples of this may be:
- Raccoons on public or private land with rabies or distemper.
- Deer, coyote, and fox which may pose a threat to public safety on public or private land.
How to know if a raccoon has distemper? Look for the following signs:
- Raccoon is active during daylight.
- Raccoon appears stunned and isn’t moving for hours at a time.
- Raccoon’s eyes look glazed over.
If you suspect a raccoon may have distemper, contact By-law Enforcement. By-Law Enforcement can help a property owner determine if the raccoon has distemper. If the raccoon does not have distemper, By-law Enforcement is not responsible, and the property owner will be advised to contact a pest control company, licensed trapper, or a wildlife rehabilitator.
By-law Enforcement: 519-332-0330 extension 3220
The keeping of certain animals is prohibited or restricted within the City of Sarnia. Please refer to the appropriate sections of the Animal Control By-Law and a complete list of restricted animals.
The Ministry of Natural Resources is responsible for wild animals which threatens public safety or is in the living quarters of a citizen’s home. Please call the local Ministry of Natural Resources district office at 519-773-9241. Further information may be obtained from the Ministry of Natural Resources website.
Residents are advised to stay vigilant when enjoying Sarnia’s outdoor trails, parks and beaches as coyote sightings have become more and more common within the City. When coyote sightings increase, many times these sightings are due to humans intentionally or unintentionally providing a food source. Coyotes tend to be more active during certain times of the year such as the spring when they are raising young, or during the winter when they are looking for mates and protecting their territories.
While coyotes, by nature, are wary of humans, they are opportunistic feeders and have been known to prey on small dogs or cats that have been left unattended. As such, residents are reminded to please keep pets under strict control. As coyotes are most active between the hours of dusk and dawn it’s important to ensure pets are not permitted to run at large. Accompany your pets outdoors and ensure they remain on a leash, this will help minimize such encounters.
If you encounter a coyote, do not approach. Coyotes will do their best to avoid human contact, but may attack humans when provoked, sick or injured. Yelling in a firm voice while outdoors “Go away coyote!” banging pots, spraying a water hose, throwing objects towards (not at the coyote) can be effective deterrents to safely move a coyote away. Flashlights and motion activated lights may also help deter coyotes from entering onto your private property.
Tips to Discourage Coyotes on your Property
Coyotes as well as other types of wildlife require food, water, and shelter. Follow these tips to keep wildlife away from your property by:
- Storing garbage in plastic containers with locking lids.
- Storing garbage indoors until garbage day.
- Keeping pet food inside your house.
- Ensuring compost is stored in approved containers
- Keeping pets indoors when possible or accompanied by a leash
For information about coyotes or other wildlife please call the local Ministry of Natural Resources district office at 519-773-9241. If a coyote poses an immediate threat or danger to public safety, call 911.
Animal Investigations – Neglect, Cruelty or Abandonment
Under the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act (PAWS) Contact Animal Investigations at 1-833-9 ANIMAL or 1-833 926 4625
Sarnia Police can also be contacted: 519-344-8861
Tips to Discourage Wildlife on your Property
Wild animals require food, water, and shelter. Follow these tips to keep wildlife away from your property by:
- Store garbage in plastic containers with locking lids.
- Store garbage indoors until garbage day.
- Keep pet food inside your house.
- Ensure roof vents and chimneys are capped tightly.
- Repair holes and cracks in the exterior of your house.
- Block openings under decks, porches, patios, and sheds.
What to do with a Sick or Orphaned Wild Animal
It is very common for well-meaning citizens to mistake an animal as in need of rehabilitation when it is better off being left in its natural environment.
The City does not rehabilitate wild animals. A wild animal that is found sick or orphaned will need the specialized care of a licensed wildlife rehabilitator that is recognized by the Ministry of Natural Resources. You cannot keep wildlife in captivity without approval from the Ministry of Natural Resources.