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News Releases

Published on Thursday, June 29, 2023

Public Health advising people to enjoy wildlife from a distance

Grey-Bruce, known for its diverse flora and fauna, offers wonderful opportunities to observe various species of wildlife. This includes wild animals that may look cute and fuzzy and seem friendly and harmless. However, it is important to heed the advice of Grey Bruce Public Health to ensure everyone’s well-being.

GBPH advises people to resist the urge to approach, feed, handle, or care for wildlife as doing so could pose health risks.

“Our message is clear – wildlife should always be enjoyed and admired from a distance,” says Andrew Barton, Senior Public Health Manager.

In the spring and summer, Grey Bruce Public Health often receives reports of people being scratched and bitten by wild animals, with raccoons being particularly notable.

“Interactions between animals and the public can often result in painful injuries,” says Barton. “The outcome for the animals involved is often worse still.”

The potential transmission of rabies or other communicable diseases from wildlife to people remains Public Health’s primary concern with such incidents.

In some cases, wild animals are terminated after they bite or scratch a person, and, occasionally, euthanasia is necessary to conduct laboratory testing.

“In addition, the healthcare and Public Health response to biting or scratching incidents requires us to expend significant resources in terms of staff time, healthcare providers’ time, potential medical expenses, and emergency department visits. All of this can be avoided by enjoying wildlife from a distance,” Barton adds.

Residents are asked to do the following to prevent potentially harmful interactions with wild animals:

  • Stay away from wild animals and always refrain from touching, petting, or handling wildlife or keeping wild animals as pets;
  • Do not feed wild animals;
  • Keep pets away from wild animals and do not let pets roam unsupervised;
  • Wildlife-proof the home and yard;
  • Do not disturb baby animals;
  • Warn children to stay away from wild or stray animals;
  • Do not trap and transport wild animals to a new location.



For More Information:

To connect with the Medical Officer of Health or the program manager, please contact:

Denis Langlois, Communications Co-ordinator,

Grey Bruce Public Health,

519-376-9420 or 1-800-263-3456 ext. 1315,

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For media inquiries, please call 519-376-9420 ext. 1315 or email



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