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. Cat regulations
  6. Coyotes and foxes

Report an animal issue

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

Contact the humane society at 1-833-926-4625 or 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 bylaw enforcement to report:

  • pet related noise violations

Buy or renew a dog licence

Dog licences help us contact dog owners about lost animals. Fees support services such as 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
  • licences must be renewed by December 31 each year
  • early-bird rates apply to new/renewed licenses if received between October 1 and December 31
  • licence from previous year is required to receive a new licence (does not apply to puppies)

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 $25 voucher to Ren's Pets Depot by email.

Fees for 2021

Renewal before December 31 (early bird fee)

  • $27.05 for a spayed or neutered
  • $19.77 for dogs owned by 65+
  • $44.74 for unsterilized dogs
  • $39.54 for unsterilized dogs owned by senior citizens

Renewal between January 1 and September 30

  • $55.14 for spayed or neutered dogs
  • $44.74 for dogs owned by senior citizens
  • $72.83 for unsterilized dogs
  • $66.59 for unsterilized dogs owned by senior citizens
  • new dog licences purchased during this time will be charged the early bird fee

Replacement tags are $10.40. 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 $25 and the registration must be renewed every year.

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 
  • dogs over 12 weeks old must be licensed (find section above)
  • pick up waste
  • limit of three dogs per household
  • the dangerous dog bylaw (PDF) relates to dangerous dogs and regulation of pitbulls
  • contact bylaw enforcement to report excessive barking or noise

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


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 1-833-926-4625 or 519-745-5615.