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Animal Services

The Guelph Humane Society (GHS) enforces the Township of Centre Wellington's animal control by-law, capture and impound stray domestic animals, respond to citizens with animal concerns, provide emergency response to stray animals or animals (including wildlife) that are sick or injured, and help the Township manage the licensing of dogs and kennels. Their mission is to promote the welfare of all animals and prevent cruelty and suffering. To achieve those goals, they provide animal sheltering, surrender, and adoption services, veterinary care, pet identification, a progressive spay/neuter program, and lost pet returns.

The Township is pleased to partner with the Guelph Humane Society (GHS) for animal control services. The GHS is an organization equipped with Animal Protection Officers with the skill and qualifications to provide animal control in Centre Wellington. They provide the following services for our community:

  • Capturing, licensing, quarantine and enforcement of stray dogs
  • Kennel inspections
  • Responds to dog bites and/or attacks on other domestic animals;
  • Receives inquiries and responds to injured, sick and orphaned wildlife.
  • Removing, impounding, relocating or disposing of wild or domestic animals who may be injured or in immediate danger of injury or death or those who pose a real or reasonable risk of harm to people.
  • Support conflict between animals and residents
  • Investigations and prosecutions (by-law infractions)
  • Park and trail monitoring
  • Emergency services are available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week by calling 519-824-3091


View the presentation made by the Guelph Humane Society to Council during the 2019 budget process. The Guelph Humane Society presentation outlines the animal control services they provide in Centre Wellington.   

About the Guelph Humane Society

Since 1893, the Guelph Humane Society has been providing care and shelter for homeless, stray and abused animals. Each year they serve approximately 3,000 animals in need. GHS provides animal sheltering, surrender, and adoption services, pet identification, and lost pet returns. GHS also provides regular veterinary care and have a progressive spay/neuter program.

The Guelph Humane Society is an affiliate of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) they employ an OSPCA Inspector and Agents to investigate and enforce allegations of cruelty or neglect in Guelph and Wellington County under provincial and federal animal cruelty legislation. They are also a member and strong supporter of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies.

Their staff enforce animal related by-laws, capture and impound stray domestic animals, respond to citizens with animal complaints, provide emergency response to stray or wild animal illness or injury complaints, and help manage the licensing of dogs in the Township. More information about the GHS can be found on their website.

The Township of Centre Wellington has partnered with DocuPet to provide an enhanced dog licensing program for our residents.  

Dog licences can be purchased online and your tag(s) will be mailed to you. The online licensing service provides a quick and easy process to license your pet in Centre Wellington, as well as options for customization.


The Township of Centre Wellington Animal Control By-law requires every dog owner to register their dog annually. A licence expires 365 days from the date of purchase. New dog owners have fifteen days to register their dog.

It is important to get an annual dog tag for the following reasons:

  • Registering your dog demonstrates responsible pet ownership, and helps the Guelph Humane Society with the identification and safe return of your dog.
  • If your dog goes missing, having them licensed drastically improves your chances of getting them returned to you safely.
  • Reduces the stress a dog may experience from staying at the shelter
  • Allows the Guelph Humane Society to contact the dog owner in the event of an emergency to make vital decisions regarding their care.
  • It's the law! The cost of a licence is far less than the penalty for being caught without one and saves the cost of impound and boarding fees.


  • Dog Tags : $45.00
  • Dog tags after expiry: $55.00
  • Replacement Tags: $10.00


Purchase a Dog tag online, complete a paper application or call the Township Office. Your tag will come in the mail regardless of which application method you choose.  

General Rules:

  • All Dogs must be registered according to the Animal Control By-law
  • Three dogs are the maximum permitted for any residential dwelling
  • Dogs not on the premises of the owner or under the control of any person can be impounded
  • All owners must clean up after their dog
  • If a dog is found to behave aggressively or attack a person or domestic animal in the absence of any mitigating factor, said dog can be designated as a potentially dangerous dog or a dangerous dog.
  • Schoolyards, public parks and trails are not leash-free zones. Keep your dog on a leash at all times unless you are visiting the leash-free dog park on Glengarry Crescent in Fergus.
  • Get your dog licensed. Purchase your dog tag online. Dog tags help us reunite lost dogs with their owners quicker and easier.
  • Don't let your dog bark persistently (it is a violation of our Noise By-law)

The leash-free dog park is maintained by the Township of Centre Wellington with the help of the Centre Wellington Dog Owners Group (CWDOG) volunteers to provide a clean, safe and fun area for park users. More information regarding the park and rules can be found on the CWDOG Facebook page.


To renew your annual kennel licence, please complete an application and submit with payment to the Township municipal office located at: 1 MacDonald Square, Elora. The Guelph Humane Society will schedule and complete an inspection prior to the issuance of a kennel licence.

The Township of Centre Wellington Animal Control By-law allows for the keeping of up to 10 hens per residential lot. 


Hen Coop Requirements

  • be located at least 3 metres from side and rear lot line
  • be located in the rear yard
  • be a maximum size of 10m2
  • be less than 2 metres in height
  • provide a roof enclosure which is weather proof
  • be fully enclosed to prevent escape
  • have a perch of at least 20cm for each hen


To register your coop you have two options:

  1. Complete and submit an on-line application form online and remit payment by mail or in person at the Township Municipal Office
  2. Complete a paper application and submit to the Township together with payment

After you complete the application and submit the registration fee of $133.00, an inspection will be scheduled.


Please review the Animal Control By-law for complete rules and regulations regarding the keeping of hens.

The Township of Centre Wellington Animal Control By-law prohibits the keeping or harbouring of a number of animals. Schedule A of the Township By-law lists all animals prohibited in the Township. Animals that were allowed in the Township prior to the passage of this By-law (December 2019) must be registered with the Township.


Registration of Prohibited Animals can be completed online or in person at the Township Municipal Office located at 1 MacDonald Square, Elora.  Should you own more than one prohibited animal, please complete the form for each animal.

The Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program (OWDCP) provides compensation to eligible producers whose livestock and/or poultry have been injured or killed as a result of wildlife predation or whose bee colonies, beehives and/or beehive related equipment has been damaged as a result of wildlife predation.

To be eligible for the program you must have all of the following:

  • A CRA Number or the applicant will provide their Social Insurance Number to the Municipality and/or OMAFRA when requested.  For more information click here or call, 1-800-959-5525.
  • A valid Farm Business Registration (FBRN) number or a valid FBRN exemption (religious, gross farm income or cultural exemption for Indigenous producers).  In the absence of a FBRN, the applicant must qualify for an exemption and will provide documented proof.  For more information about FBRN visit: or call Agricorp, 1-888-247-4999.
  • A valid Ontario Premises Identification (PID) number for the farm property where the damage or kill occurred. To obtain one immediately, visit the Provincial Premises Registry or call 1-855-697-7743.

What should you do if you find injured/killed livestock?

Contact a livestock investigator:

Warren Ziegler: 519.716.5513 or 

Mark Hayward: 519.216.9607 or

Braden Carberry: 416.567.0604 or

  • Immediately seek veterinary care or other treatment (including euthanization) to prevent further suffering if an animal sustains an injury.  Veterinary care costs are eligible under this program up to the Fair Market Value of the livestock. All receipts and invoices should be saved and submitted with the application.
  • If the livestock/poultry is deceased, preserve the carcass(es) and kill/injury site until the municipal investigator has seen them and agrees that they can be destroyed or disposed of.
  • Taking colour photos of the injuries and/or wounds sustained and the location where the carcass was found is recommended. These photos are submitted as evidence and will be included as owner-supplied photos. These will be used in the review process as long as the pictures align with the evidence gathered by the municipal investigator.

For more information on the Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program visit the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs website.

Did you know that hundreds of raccoons and skunks in Ontario have tested positive for the raccoon strain of rabies in the last 18 months? Rabies is a fatal disease that can affect any mammal, including humans. In infected mammals, the virus is found in saliva and can be spread through three main ways:

  • Bites that break the skin
  • Getting infected saliva in an open cut, sore, or other wound
  • Getting infected saliva in the mouth, nose, or eyes

The animals that most often transmit rabies in Ontario are bats, foxes, skunks and raccoons. Once signs of rabies appear, in any animal, the disease is virtually always fatal. A series of vaccinations and treatment with rabies antibodies can prevent infection in humans in most cases if administered soon after exposure.

Raccoon rabies has recently re-emerged after a 10 year absence in the Ontario wildlife population. Cases of rabies in animals have been found in our neighbouring regions including: Guelph, Hamilton, Halton Region, Haldimand-Norfolk, Niagara Region, Perth County and Brant County.

If you get bitten or scratched by an animal:

  1. Wash the wound with soap and water.
  2. Contact your family doctor or go to a hospital emergency room immediately.
  3. As soon as possible, call the Public Health Inspection Line at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 4753. After-hours, on weekends and on holidays, please call 1-877-884-8653.

If your pet or livestock is bitten by a wild or stray animal, contact your veterinarian for advice as soon as possible.

If you notice a wild or stray animal behaving oddly or aggressively, do not go near it. If an animal is acting aggressively and threatening people or pets, call the Guelph Humane Society at 519-824-3091

For more information on rabies please contact:

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health



2021 Oral Rabies Vaccine Bait & Trap-Vaccine-Release Programs

In 2021, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) will once again be conducting Oral Rabies Vaccine (ORV) bait distribution and trap-vaccinate-release (TVR) programs in Ontario. Baiting and TVR operations will begin June 28 and continue until the end of October.

For more information, visit the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry website or call the MNRF's rabies information line at 1-888-574-6656.


Keep your cat or kitten in a manner that does not negatively impact your neighbour's in any of the following ways:
  • Offensive odours
  • Noise that may disturb others
  • Straying or roaming
  • Accumulation of feces

A common misconception is that domestic cats – like their wild big cat cousins – need to roam freely outdoors. In truth, unlike lions or leopards, domestic cats are poorly equipped to navigate the minefield of outdoor risks that exist. Cats left outside to roam freely face an average life expectancy of two to five years. In contrast, cats living within the home enjoy an average life expectancy of 12 ½ years. Happily for our feline friends, with a little help all cats can learn to enjoy the comforts of home.

Outside risks to unsupervised cats:


Some people mistakenly think cats are naturally "street smart." Vehicles are a serious threat to all cats allowed outside – and each day many are killed on roads


Feline Leukemia, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), and rabies are just three of the deadly illnesses your cat can come into contact with from wild and domestic animals. In addition, outdoor cats are vulnerable to parasites such as fleas.


Sadly, there are people in our society who abuse animals, including cats. Letting your cats outside makes them vulnerable to cruelty.

The elements

Domestic cats are not well suited to surviving Ontario's extreme weather conditions. Extreme heat in the summer, and bitterly cold winters both pose health risks to your cat.

Other animals

Confrontations with other animals, including other roaming pets, feral cats, and wildlife, can cause your cat injury, or even result in death.

Becoming lost

Cats may not always be able to find their way home, or they may be mistaken for stray cats and end up at a pound or animal shelter. Far too often a cat simply doesn't return home one day, and the owner never finds out what really happened.

The impact of roaming cats on communities

Allowing your cat to roam not only endangers the life of your cat, but directly impacts other animals and residents within your community.

Pet overpopulation

Roaming cats not spayed or neutered contribute significantly to the ongoing pet overpopulation crisis. Sadly, thousands of cats are euthanized in Ontario each year because there are not enough adoptive homes.

Effects on wildlife

Roaming cats are common culprits in the deaths of wild animals, especially birds and small mammals. The effect of outdoor cats on a local wildlife population can be devastating and cause unnecessary suffering to thousands of wild animals.

Conflicts with neighbours

Cats who wander may defecate in gardens and other undesirable places, kill birds at a neighbour's bird feeder, or bother indoor cats visible through windows. These and other situations may damage your relationship with neighbours and lead to unnecessary conflicts for both you and your cat.

Teaching your outdoor cat to enjoy the great indoors:

While the best way to teach cats to enjoy living indoors is to raise them inside as kittens, your outdoor cat can still become a happy homebody with a little patience and effort.

Provide lots of attention

One of the reasons cats may enjoy being outside is because there is lots to do. Help your cat adjust to an indoor lifestyle by giving him plenty of quality time – this includes playing with your cat and giving him lots of affection.

Make the indoors a fun place to be

Help your cat learn to associate being indoors with the variety of activities they take pleasure in. Feed your cat indoors, brush her (if she enjoys it), and make sure her litter box is kept clean so your cat has fewer problems adjusting to it.

Bring the outdoors… indoors

Help your cat enjoy the entertainment of the outside world from the safety of inside. Provide perching areas on window ledges, a variety of comfortable resting areas to bask in the sun, and open screen windows in warm weather to let the smells and breezes blow through. If you take your cat outside, supervise him at all times. Create a fully enclosed outdoor play area, or even harness train your cat so that the two of you can enjoy walks together! Teaching outdoor cats to become indoor cats does require some patience, and some cats adjust more quickly than others. The most important thing to remember is that despite any initial protests from your cat, your perseverance will ultimately result in a longer, happier life for your favourite feline!

Provided by the Ontario SPCA


 10 reasons to keep your dog on a leash!

  1. Be a good neighbour
    Not everyone likes dogs. Some cultures perceive dogs in ways that may differ from your own so even a friendly dog running up to them is very distressing. Someone truly afraid may act out of fear and injure your dog. Property owners can be particular about dogs on their lawns. A dog on a leash shows that you are in control of your dog and that you respect those who wish to keep their distance from your dog. It is good neighbour policy to keep your pet on leash and to prevent it from becoming a nuisance to others around you.

  2. Prevent Injury

    Whether intentional or not your dog could bite, knock over, or injure someone. Legal action could arise and under the Dog Owner's Liability Act (DOLA) it states that a dog could be deemed dangerous if;

    • A dog has bitten or attacked.
    • The dog has behaved in a manner that poses a menace to the safety of persons or domestic animals.

    An owner did not exercise reasonable precautions to prevent a dog from biting or attacking or posing a menace to the safety of persons or domestic animals.

    The law could judge that your dog be euthanized, even if your dog was provoked to bite. Keeping your dog leashed helps you control them and mitigates the circumstances, showing the owner is "exercising reasonable precautions".

  3. Prevent Incidents with other Dogs.
    An off-leash dog could wander into another animal's territory provoking a fight. Leashed dogs could perceive an unleashed dog as a threat (either to the owner or to his personal space in the leash zone) and is likely to lunge or snap.

  4. Protect Wildlife
    Your best friend can become nature's enemy if taken off a leash and allowed to run free. Dogs that leave trails destroy the homes of ground-nesting birds, stress small mammals, destroy plants, leave feces that disrupts the natural balance of the ecosystem, and they are susceptible to the rabies virus through wildlife they may encounter.

  5. Prevent Accidents
    No dog responds 100% of the time to commands. A leash can help you pull your dog to safety when a driver is too close. On the other hand, unleashed dogs can cause car accidents when drivers try to avoid hitting a loose dog.

  6. Lowers costly veterinary bills.
    Leashing your dog is the best way to keep your dog from becoming sick or injured on your walks. Dogs are known to eat many things they shouldn't and roaming dogs could drink contaminated water, tread through pesticides, be exposed to ticks, poison oak, or plants that have thorns and burrs.

  7. Unleashed dogs eliminate at will.
    This will make you very unpopular with your neighbours. Owners that do not scoop will incur a fine. Dogs that are not de wormed completely, can leave parasitic worm eggs that can be transmitted from feces to humans causing blindness (particularly with small children).

  8. It is a good birth control device.
    If your dog has not been spayed or neutered it is probably because you are hoping to breed your pet. Leashing is one of the best ways to preventing random mating and unwanted puppies.

  9. Loose dogs give dog owners a bad name.
    Every dog allowed off leash is another piece of evidence for those citizens who prefer that dogs be banned from all public places. Discourteous dog owners are causing dogs owners to lose the ability to take their dogs to places they formerly could take them. Go out of your way to be courteous when handling a dog. Demonstrate that dog owners can be good neighbours. If people have a right to expect that dogs they encounter in that location will be on leash, stick to the rules. Otherwise the next rule change may be "No Dogs Allowed."

  10. It is the law! Plain and simple. Know the laws that affect you as a dog owner.

Hot Cars

Even with the window down, your pet can overheat in a matter of minutes.

  • A dog has a normal body temperature of about 39°C (102°F). Unlike people, a dog has a limited ability to sweat to cool off. So even a brief time in a hot environment can be life-threatening.
  • Even on a mild day, with the windows open and parked in the shade, the temperature in a vehicle can rapidly reach very dangerous levels.
  • After reaching a body temperature of 41°C (106°F), it doesn't take long for a pet to begin suffering irreparable brain damage or death.
  • Every summer, too many pets are left in life-threatening situations inside hot vehicles. But you can do something about it:


If you find a pet unattended in a hot vehicle, call 310-SPCA (7722) or your local OPP at:



For the most part, wild animals tend to live around our homes because of an available food source (bird feeder, accessible garbage, pet food) and a potential shelter or safe place for them to have their young.

In the late winter and early spring, animals are preparing to nest and give birth. At this time, their need for adequate food and shelter is especially great, and it can be quite a challenge to persuade them to move once they have established themselves.

By eliminating potential sources of food and shelter you can take steps to prevent wildlife from taking up residence in unwanted locations around your home. Here are some preventative tips:

Eliminate Food Sources:

Seal garbage cans and keep them in the garage if possible.

Invest in a proper compost container.

Fence and anchor your gardens properly.

If your lawn is being torn up, a wild animal may be consuming grubs as its food source. There are a number of environmentally friendly, non-toxic products that you may choose from and some lawn care companies will also offer these products. Please try to avoid pesticides as they are potentially toxic and may pose a danger not only to wildlife, but to family pets and small children as well.

Seal Access Points:

Animals nest in attics, chimneys, basements, and under decks, porches and sheds. Install a chimney cap and mesh barriers over vents. Decks, sheds, garages or any other building lacking a solid foundation can be sealed with lattice, cement blocks, bricks or fencing. Please avoid using chicken wire – it stretches, so it is not particularly effective and animals may get caught in it. If an animal is nesting, a little consideration and patience goes a long way. Once the young leave you can seal off the entry point. To ensure that the nest has been vacated try dusting flour at the opening. If there is no evidence of paw prints over a 5 day period, it is safe to seal. Even so, continue to monitor the area. Listen for noises that could indicate the presence of an animal, and if you have to unseal it to let the animal out, do so. A mother frantically trying to get to her babies will often cause more damage than she would otherwise. Further, any babies or adults left inside will starve. Not only is this a cruel and inhumane death, it will pose the problem of rotting carcasses which will ultimately have to be removed.

Passive Deterrents:

If you find yourself the reluctant host of an unwelcome visitor try: rags soaked in ammonia, bright lights and loud music at their points of access.

Why Not Live-trapping?

Many people look for an immediate solution when dealing with wildlife on their property. Some view the process of deterring the animal using wildlife-proofing strategies as a hassle, and prefer the outright removal of the animal as the most appealing option. However, live-trapping is not an effective manner in which to deal with conflicts between humans and wildlife, and can have severely inhumane consequences.

Here are the reasons why we do not recommend the use of live-trapping:

It provides only a short-term solution. Wildlife is attracted to a particular site due to the availability of food, water, and/or shelter. Unless the resources that attracted an animal to that site in the first place are removed, it is only a matter of time before another animal inhabits that same place. Often times, this will create a situation where the property owner becomes increasingly frustrated because a new animal is taking up residence each time an animal has been removed. The cycle of live-trapping can be endless. It is the responsibility of the property owner to discourage wildlife by eliminating the resource that attracted them to the property.

Live-trapping is often seen as a humane solution, when in fact, it can be an extremely inhumane alternative:

  • Live-trapping causes great stress for the trapped animal, and they may seriously injure themselves as they desperately attempt to escape.
  • The trapped animal is exposed to the elements and can suffer from painful cases of frostbite and heat stroke. If an animal is left in the trap it will suffer for days and will eventually die of exposure or starvation.
  • Domestic animals and other wildlife may harass the trapped animal causing further stress or injury. Trapped and relocated animals may be separated from their young, and the dependent young left behind will die an inhumane death.
  • Relocated animals are at an extreme disadvantage in a new environment. They have to find food, water and shelter in an unfamiliar territory. There may be territorial disputes between the relocated animal and resident animals that can lead to injury and even death. Relocated animals may also spread disease to the resident wildlife population, therefore causing other animals to become ill and/or die.

If a wild animal is relocated to an area that is unfamiliar, that animal will be at an extreme disadvantage in its ability to find food, water, and shelter and will often not survive. If released into a habitat that is suitable for that species, there will invariably be another animal of that species already resident to the area. Thus, the newcomer will have to compete with the resident animal for food, water and shelter in that area, and often times a dispute over territory between the newcomer and the resident animal will lead to injuries, or even death, to one or both of the animals involved in the dispute.

There are provincial regulations that restrict live-trapping and relocation. It is illegal in the Province of Ontario to live-trap and relocate wildlife greater than one kilometer from the capture site, as per the Ministry of Natural Resources' Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.

More information regarding wildlife can be found on the Guelph Humane Societies' website.

or Contact Skedaddle - Humane Wildlife Control

Cougar Sighting

Please be advised that there have been recent reports of cougar sightings in the Belwood Area.

If you see a cougar, please report it to:

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry


Provincial Constable

County of Wellington O.P.P.

Media Relations & Community Safety Officer

Office – 519-846-5930

Please find more information from the Province of Ontario's website regarding how to prevent and manage conflicts with Lynx, bobcats and cougars.

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