Sick, Injured or Orphaned Wildlife

Alert: Raccoon strain rabies is circulating in our raccoon & skunk populations

The overall risk remains low to the general public but there are measures you can take to minimize your risk:

  • Stay away from any wild life and unknown or stray animals to prevent any contact and possible exposures
  • Report potential exposures due to animal bites or scratches to public health by calling 905-546-2489. Wash wounds with soap and water and seek medical attention
  • If you believe you were in contact with a sick raccoon, or if you see other sick raccoons, skunks or other wildlife report it to the City of Hamilton at 905-546-2489.
  • For questions or concerns about the Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry baiting program please call 1-888-574-6656
  • Vaccinate your pets against rabies, and keep vaccines up to date. Visit one of our local low cost rabies vaccination clinics.
  • Learn more about the City’s Responsible Animal Ownership By-law
  • For more information on rabies in Ontario visit www.ontario.ca/page/rabies


Sick, injured, or orphaned wildlife require special care to recover and return to their home. You cannot keep wildlife in captivity without approval from the Ministry of Natural Resources. However, you can keep a wild animal for up to 24 hours in order to get it to a veterinarian or other wildlife care provider.

What to do with sick, injured or orphaned wildlife

  • Stay back from the animal.
  • Look for signs of an injury such as blood, loss of fur or feathers or trouble breathing.
  • Leave it in its natural habitat.
  • Watch the animal to see if it will get up and leave on its own. Some animals “play dead” to defend themselves against other animals.
  • Contact Animal Services at 905-574-3433 to report injured or dead wild animals.
  • Contact Public Health Services at 905-546-3570 if you think there is a health risk from the animal.

The City does not rehabilitate wild animals. We hold them for up to 24 hours before handing them over to a veterinarian or other wildlife care provider.