News Release
March 22, 2023

The City of Toronto is urging residents to protect both people and wildlife by refraining from feeding local wildlife. In recent years, there has been an increase in negative interactions involving people and wildlife in Toronto. Most interactions with wildlife, including coyotes and foxes, are the result of a nearby, regular food source, primarily from people leaving food or garbage out.

Feeding wild animals changes their natural instincts and may increase their presence and tolerance of people, creating problems for both wildlife and Toronto communities.

When food is left out for animals, it can attract other animals such as mice, rats, squirrels, and raccoons which in return can attract other larger predators. Feeding birds may encourage large flocks to roost or perch nearby, creating unsanitary conditions and potentially spreading diseases such as avian flu among large bird populations.

To help keep people and wildlife safe, new regulations under Chapter 349, Animals Bylaw will come into effect on April 1 making feeding wildlife prohibited on both private and public properties across Toronto. The new regulations do not apply to feeding songbirds on private property, provided bird feeders are kept above grade, are kept in a sanitary condition and do not attract other animals or wildlife.

The City encourages people to be mindful on how they interact with wildlife and take steps to keep communities and wildlife safe, including:

• Properly disposing of food and garbage at home and in parks and outdoor spaces
• Avoiding feeding or leaving pet food outside
• Refraining from baiting or luring wild animals for a photo, respecting their space from a distance
• Keeping bird feeders clean and removing clutter and debris to avoid attracting unwanted animals

To raise awareness, the City has launched a public education campaign to inform residents about the new regulations to not feed wildlife and why it’s important for safety. Residents who see someone feeding wildlife should report it to 311. The City will investigate 311 complaints as well as areas that are known to be of concern. More information is available on the City’s wildlife webpage.

The new bylaw amendments were approved by City Council at its meeting in July 2022. Staff brought forward recommendations after a comprehensive review of the Animals Bylaw. As part of this work, the City held stakeholder consultations, reviewed best practices from other municipalities, gathered feedback through a public survey and third-party public opinion research, and reviewed licensing, complaint and enforcement data. More information is available on the City’s Animals Bylaw Review webpage.

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Media Relations