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.

Contact information:
By-law Enforcement: 519-332-0330 extension 3220

Restricted Animals

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.


For information about coyotes, 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 Neglect, Cruelty, or Abandonment

Contact OSPCA, Sarnia Humane Society, or Sarnia Police regarding animal neglect, cruelty, or abandonment.

Contact information:
Sarnia Humane Society: 519-344-7064
Sarnia Police: 519-344-8861
OSPCA: 519-310-7722

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.