Animals and pets

Use this page to report an issue, buy a dog licence, register a backyard hen, or learn more about animal and pet rules.

On this page

  1. Report an animal issue
  2. Buy or renew a dog license
  3. Register a backyard hen
  4. Dog regulations
  5. Dog parks and waste containers
  6. Cat regulations
  7. Coyotes and foxes

Report an animal issue

The keeping, feeding and treatment of animals is outlined in our animal control bylaw.

Contact the Humane Society at 519-745-5615 to report:

  • off-leash or stray pets
  • a lost/found pet
  • a dog bite
  • a dead domestic animal
  • dead wildlife on public property (no pickup fee)
  • dead wildlife on private property (pickup fees may apply)

Contact the Province of Ontario at 1-833-926-4625 to report animals that:

  • are injured, in pain, sick, suffering or abused
  • lack proper care, water, food or shelter

Contact the Waterloo Regional Police non-emergency line at 519-570-9777 to report:

  • pet related noise violations
  • a dog locked in a hot vehicle - have the location, licence plate, make and model of the vehicle to locate and rescue the dog

Buy or renew a dog licence

Dog licences help us reunite dog owners with lost pets. Fees support animal control and leash-free dog parks. Rules include:

  • all dogs older than 12 weeks must be licensed
  • a dog must wear the tag on its collar at all times
  • issue permanent dog tags and require the dog owner to renew the same dog tag number by December 31 each year
  • early-bird rates apply to new/renewed licenses if received between October 1 and December 31
  • new and renewed dog licences come with a $20 voucher for Ren's Pets Depot

Buy or renew online 

  1. Sign up or log in to our online application
  2. Apply and pay online. We only accept credit card (online debit not accepted).
  3. As a bonus, those who renew online will receive a $20 voucher to Ren's Pets Depot by email.

Fees for 2023

Renewal before December 31 and new applications

  • $27.86 for a spayed or neutered
  • $20.36 for dogs owned by 65+
  • $46.08 for unsterilized dogs
  • $40.72 for unsterilized dogs owned by senior citizens

Renewal between January 1 and September 30

  • $56.80 for spayed or neutered dogs
  • $46.08 for dogs owned by senior citizens
  • $75.01 for unsterilized dogs
  • $68.58 for unsterilized dogs owned by senior citizens

Replacement tags are $10.72. Service dogs are not charged fees.

Register a backyard hen

In 2021 city council voted to allow backyard hens in Waterloo.

You can register up to 4 hens. The cost is $26.27 and the registration must be renewed every year.

Avian flu confirmed present in southern Ontario

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza, subtype H5N1, in the southern region of Ontario. Avian Influenza is a contagious viral infection that can affect all species of birds (poultry, exotic and pet birds, and wild birds).

Your backyard hens and pet birds could be at risk of catching the bird flu from wild birds which naturally carry influenza viruses. There is no treatment for birds that become infected with the disease. Learn how to protect your flock and identify signs your birds may be sick on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website.

The Province of Ontario has also shared some information on protecting domestic flocks.

In rare cases, humans can become infected. Find more information about risks to humans from Health Canada's website.

Hen rules and regulations

Hens must be kept:

  • on residential properties only
  • with permission of all owners and residents of a property
  • in compliance with all other city bylaws

Coops or runs must:

  • be fully enclosed
  • be set back 1.5 metres from property lines
  • provide protection from weather and predators
  • have an accessible dust bath area
  • lined with straw or shavings
  • be cleaned daily and disinfected twice a year

Hens must:

  • be banded with the owner's contact information
  • have access to an enclosed run area
  • be disposed of at a livestock facility
  • not be slaughtered on your property

You're not allowed to sell eggs or any hen products.

Register a hen online 

  1. Sign up or log in to our online hen registry.
  2. Apply and pay online. We only accept credit card (online debit not accepted).

Register a hen by mail or in person

  1. Download the hen registry form (PDF).
  2. Fill it out and return to city hall by mail, drop box or in person.
  3. In person we accept cash, debit, cheque, money order or credit cards. If using mail or drop box use a cheque or money order. Make cheques payable to the City of Waterloo.

Tips for keeping hens

Owners can reduce the risk of illness by:

  • washing hands after handling hens
  • wearing dedicated clothing and shoes 
  • limiting contact with hens
  • removing wet manure daily
  • sanitizing equipment 

Pests and predators can be avoided by:

  • storing chicken feed in a sealed raised container
  • bringing food and water in at night
  • using hardwire cloth instead of chicken wire (smaller gaps)
  • digging around the coop to add a concrete foundation or hardwire cloth

The Waterloo Backyard Hens Facebook group can help you connect with other owners. They have information on setting up coops and where to purchase chicks locally.

Dog regulations

Dog licences are required in Waterloo. Other rules include:

  • keep your dog on a leash
  • pick up waste and dispose of it properly
  • dogs over 12 weeks old must be licensed (find section above)
  • limit of three dogs per household
  • the dangerous dog bylaw relates to dangerous dogs and regulation of pit bulls
  • Call the Waterloo Region Police non-emergency line at 519-570-9777 to report excessive barking or noise

Dog parks and waste containers

The city has a leash-free dog park at Bechtel Park.

Two options for disposing of dog waste in Waterloo are:

  1. Use any bag to pick up your dog's poop and deposit it in a poop power container through the poop post opening. The rest of the container is installed underground to contain the smell. A dog waste removal company uses special trucks to lift and empty the containers, and the waste is transported to a facility where it is converted into energy.

  2. Use a compostable bag and take the dog poop home to your green bin. This method won't make any poop power, but you're still being responsible and diverting it from the landfill for composting! Review information about using a green bin for pet waste on the Region of Waterloo website.

 View a map of where poop power dog waste disposal units are located

Special dog waste recycling containers are now available at these parks:

  • Anndale Park
  • Bechtel Dog Park
  • Blue Beech Square
  • Beechdrops Park
  • Chesapeake Park
  • Clair Lake Park
  • Dunvegan Park
  • Forest Hills Park
  • Hillside Park
  • Lakeshore Optimist Park
  • Laurelwood Stormwater Management Area
  • Mary Allen Park
  • McCrae Park
  • Mount Hope Cemetery
  • Moses Springer Park
  • New Hampshire Park
  • Old Post Park
  • Pinery Trail Park
  • Red River Park 
  • Regency Park
  • Rolling Hills Park
  • St. Moritz Park
  • Vista Hills Park
  • University Downs Park
  • Westvale Park
  • Waterloo Park, East
  • Waterloo Park, West

Compostable bags are not required for use. If there isn't a container at your park, dispose of dog waste at home.

Cat regulations

Cat licences are not required in Waterloo. Keep your cat or kitten in a manner that limits:

  • offensive odours
  • noise that may disturb others
  • straying or roaming
  • accumulation of feces

Coyotes and foxes

For general concerns about coyotes or foxes, contact the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. These animals may be present in public places across Waterloo, including parks.

To report dead coyotes and foxes, contact the Humane Society at 519-745-5615.