Facilities - Recommendations to prevent disease and injury associated with petting zoos in Ontario

Petting zoo operators should:

  • Use barriers, gates, and signs to discourage uncontrolled access to animals and animal areas.
  • The design of facilities might include double barriers, with three feet (one metre) between each barrier, to discourage contact with animals or contaminated surfaces except for specified interaction areas.
  • Clearly designate entrances and exits of animal areas.
  • Establish transition areas between animal areas and other areas.
  • Transition areas should be well-defined and clearly labelled. One way visitor flow is preferred with separate entrance and exit.
  • Equip entrance areas with information on preventing infection or injury (see ‘Visitor Education’ section), and equip exit areas with hand hygiene instructions and facilities.

Ensure drinking water is safe:

  • Install back-flow prevention devices on all faucet/hose connections and between livestock area outlets and other water lines.
  • Maintain an air gap between the hose/faucet and container to prevent back-flow when filling troughs and buckets.
  • Label hoses accessible by the public as: “Not fit for human drinking”.
  • These recommendations do not include the drinking water requirements outlined in Ontario Regulation 170/03 (Drinking-Water Systems) or 252/05 (Non-Residential and Non-Municipal Seasonal Residential Systems that Do Not Serve Designated Facilities) made under the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002. Please refer to the Ministry of the Environment website External Link for more information regarding drinking water requirements. Here you will find a wealth of information including a helpful "Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)" link when you log in to this site. If you cannot find the information you need, contact the Ministry of the Environment.
  • Restrict public access to animal feed and water (except that supplied specifically for visitors to feed to the animals).
  • Where possible, design floors for adequate drainage, to eliminate puddles. When working with existing facilities, puddles on the floor should be controlled using sawdust, mopping or sweeping.
  • Provide adequate ventilation for both animals and humans.
  • Provide adequate garbage containers for visitor use. 
  • Establish isolation areas for the removal of sick, injured, distressed or potentially dangerous animals.