Wild animals, including coyotes, live throughout Kitchener and use our parks, trails and natural areas as their habitat. It is important that we learn to live with our wild neighbours and do our part to keep everyone safe.

You can supportive wildlife co-existence by leaving animals alone, enjoying them from a distance, not leaving out food and keeping your cats indoors and your dogs on a leash.

On this page:

  1. Feeding wild animals
  2. Sick, injured or orphaned animals
  3. Dead animals
  4. Facts about coyotes
  5. Coyote tips
  6. Goose management
  7. Pests
  8. Kitchener Natural Areas Program

Feeding wild animals

You cannot feed wildlife in Kitchener. This is a city bylaw and could result in a fine of $5,000.

If you’re having problems with people feeding wildlife in your neighbourhood, call us at 519-741-2345.

Why you can’t feed wildlife

Feeding wildlife and leaving food outside can:

  • cause wild animals to lose their natural fear of humans
  • give an artificial food source, which can cause overpopulation of some animals and lead to starvation and disease for others
  • lead to property damage and unwelcome house guests
  • make animals dependent on human food sources – this may cause them to lose some of their ability to survive in the wild, resulting in dangerous encounters with people and other animals
  • put domestic animals, such as dogs and cats, at risk physically, or expose them to disease

Birds and feral cats

Bird feeders are allowed. We reserve the right to address an accumulation of bird feed and/or bird feces, which could attract rodents and rats. If you have a bird feeder, please keep it clean.

Under our bylaw, feral cats are not considered wild animals. That means feeding feral cats is allowed; however, we strongly recommend against doing so, as the food you put out could attract other wildlife.


Sick, injured or orphaned animals

If you are concerned about what you think might be sick, injured or orphaned wildlife please consult the Ministry of Natural Resources website. You can also contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Guelph District by calling 519-826-4955 and selecting option 3 or by email.


Dead animals

If you see a sick or injured animal or an animal that is dead on the road, call the Humane Society at 519-745-5615.


Facts about coyotes

Coyotes are active throughout the year during all seasons. Mostly, they keep to themselves and we don’t see or encounter them very often.

During some seasons, they are more active and more likely to be seen:

  • choosing a mate
  • finding a den
  • hunting and setting up a territory

These are all reasons why coyotes are on the move, and why sightings of coyotes can increase in the spring and fall.


Coyote tips

  • Coyotes prey on small mammals. To keep your dog(s) safe, make sure you keep them on a leash and don't leave them unattended.
  • Keep your dog(s) inside at night. Keep pet food indoors and clean up after your dog as coyotes are attracted to dog feces. 
  • You should never run when you see a coyote (that goes for dogs, too). It brings out their “chase” instinct. Stand still, wave your arms and slowly back away.
  • Coyotes are extremely curious and intelligent animals – they often watch the things happening around them, just as a tourist in a new city would. Young coyotes are immature and very puppy-like: children, and the toys they play with (like balls) can lead a juvenile coyote into play behaviour. If you are concerned that a coyote is paying too much attention to your small dog or child, pick them up and begin making loud noises and/or throwing objects toward (but not at) the coyote to scare it away.

Download our coyote fact sheet to learn more.


Goose management

In 2007, we developed a goose management plan to keep the goose population of Victoria Park at a manageable level. This plan does not involve killing or harming geese.

Goose management plan facts

  • we are not removing all geese from Victoria Park
  • our goal is to reduce the number of geese in the park to give park guests and other wildlife a safe environment
  • we do not kill the young and adult geese when they are removed from the park
  • these geese are relocated to an environment inspected and approved by the federal Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, where they can rest and feed before migrating onward
  • the eggs removed from the park have not yet incubated, and there are no baby goslings in the eggs that are removed
  • this plan has been in place since 2007
  • this plan is administered by a licensed agency whose plan is reviewed and approved by the Federal Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change every year

Pests

Learn about the pests listed below on the Region of Waterloo’s website.

  • rodents, including rats and mice
  • bed bugs
  • mosquitos
  • ticks
  • head lice

Kitchener Natural Areas Program

The Kitchener Natural Areas Program (KNAP) offers workshops and events, many about the wild animals living in Kitchener. Check out our upcoming events and activities taking place in our natural areas.