City amending animal control bylaw to allow poultry pets

Chestermere residents can soon have poultry pets.

Chestermere City Council passed the first reading of an amended animal control bylaw to allow poultry pets, on May 30.

Chestermere Municipal Enforcement has reviewed ways surrounding communities are addressing livestock living within an urban jurisdiction.

In a previous council meeting, municipal Peace Officer Sgt. Trever Bowman explained that municipalities bylaws don’t permit livestock unless allowed under the Land Use Bylaw, or through an agricultural permit issued by the municipality.

The size of the property, the type of animal, the potential for noise, odour, cleanliness, and potential effects on adjacent property values would determine if livestock would be permitted in an area.

However, municipalities commonly offer a backyard hen program.

“Together administration and legislative services put forward first reading and some changes to the animal control bylaw,” Bowman said.

Changes to the bylaw include updated definitions of residential poultry pets and animal care requirements.

“We’ll have to work some enforcement avenues in as the bylaw develops, but it’s a good start,” Bowman said.

If the amended bylaw is passed, residents could have up to six residential poultry pets, such as chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese, with premises identification.

Residents would not be permitted to keep livestock in any area of the city, except for residential poultry pets.

Under the bylaw, animals cannot be in distress, the animal must have adequate food and water, care when the animal is wounded or ill, protection from heat or cold, and adequate shelter, ventilation, and space.

The bylaw suggests chicken keepers provide opportunities for behaviours such as scratching, dustbathing, roosting, pecking, and socializing with their own species.

Chicken keepers should also meet space requirements for the interior floor area, and coop-run outdoor area, in addition to providing a minimum of one nest box for every three chickens, and one perch for chickens that are of a specified size.

“This is a new step for Chestermere which is exciting, at the same time we want to respect other residents who are unsure of this,” Mayor Jeff Colvin said.

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