Animal Control Bylaw
Fall focus groups
Thank you to everyone who participated in the recent Livestock Bylaw survey. The survey report and details on upcoming focus group sessions will be posted here later this fall.
About the Animal Control Bylaw
Animal Control Bylaw 18-2011 (564.1 KB) currently regulates the ownership of domesticated livestock and poultry species within the County. One of the many reasons for the Animal Control Bylaw is to protect the environment, property and to ensure public health.
If you live in a rural setting
Strathcona County boasts a large country residential, and small holdings areas in which to raise livestock within the current regulations. People who would like to raise livestock are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities in these designated areas.
If you live in an urban setting
Over the past few years there has been a trend in North America towards introducing livestock into urban centres for a multitude of reasons including food production, companionship, therapeutic use or business ventures. In Strathcona County, urban livestock is currently not permitted in urban centres.
1. Are backyard bees allowed in the County?Permanent link to Are backyard bees allowed in the County?
No. Backyard bees were not recommended in the Urban Agriculture Strategy; however, planned actions include demonstration beehives operated by professional beekeepers in low traffic urban areas.
Concern for competition of honey bees with native pollinators and disease spread from managed to wild bees, especially in urban areas, are some reasons why backyard bees are not recommended in urban areas.
2. Are exotic animals and livestock allowed in urban backyards?Permanent link to Are exotic animals and livestock allowed in urban backyards?
3. Are chickens allowed in urban backyards?Permanent link to Are chickens allowed in urban backyards?
No. In May 2017, Strathcona County completed a review of local impacts of an urban chicken pilot program and determined it is not suitable for the needs of our specialized community.
Backyard urban chickens was a polarizing topic during Urban Agriculture Strategy public engagement, and we therefore explored the feasibility of an urban chicken pilot project.
Strathcona County is unique in that it has about a dozen large scale poultry producers within a 10 kilometre radius of our urban areas, including the rural hamlets and Sherwood Park. We had to consider the implications of urban chickens on our rural producers.
Lot size, housing and population density, and distance from neighbours are all factors in livestock health. A review of urban chicken programs in other municipalities shows some programs had been disbanded due to pests, complaints, and lack of registration.
While we will not be introducing chickens into our urban areas, residents can get local eggs from the acreages and farms in our rural areas.
4. Is there an opportunity for an exemption to the current bylaw?Permanent link to Is there an opportunity for an exemption to the current bylaw?
No. In order to maintain the integrity of the Animal Control Bylaw, exemptions are not possible at this time.
Updating the Animal Control Bylaw
A review of the Animal Control Bylaw began in 2016 as part of the Urban Agriculture Strategy development. The process has included extensive research, expert consultation and public input.
The next steps in finalizing the proposed draft Responsible Livestock Ownership bylaw include:
- Conducting public engagement specific to smaller rural properties
- Survey in July/August 2020
- Focus groups in fall 2020
- Updating the proposed bylaw based on recommendations presented at December 10, 2019 Council meeting
- Reviewing amendments with Legislative and Legal Services
- Bringing Council a proposed bylaw to replace the Animal Control Bylaw
- Creating process and forms
- Communicating changes to the bylaw
- Implementing changes to the bylaw.
What are the proposed bylaw changes?
It is too early to outline the proposed bylaw as we are still conducting public engagement. However, we did present draft recommendations to Council on December 10, for further direction. You can watch the presentation and see the early recommendations.
Overall, the proposed recommendations are to develop a bylaw about more than controlling animals; it is about responsible livestock ownership that minimizes disease risk, supports animal welfare, land stewardship and opportunities for agriculture, while maintaining and enhancing liveability for residents.
November 29, 2016 - Strathcona County presented the final Urban Agriculture Strategy to Council for debate and approval.
- One of the actions recommended in the strategy was to review the Animal Control Bylaw and to review whether chickens should be allowed in urban areas.
May 2017 - Strathcona County completed a review of local impacts of an urban chicken pilot program and determined it is not suitable for the needs of our specialized community.
- Following this review, the County examined feasibility of a proposed new Alternative Pets Bylaw, involving significant research.
- At the time, it was determined that amendments could be made to the Animal Control Bylaw, rather than developing a new bylaw.
November 13, 2018 – Draft recommendations for amendments to the Animal Control Bylaw were presented to Council at a Priorities Committee Meeting.
- Based on discussion at the meeting, it was determined that additional considerations were required and the entire bylaw should be revisited.
April 2019 – Strathcona County checked back with residents through a SCOOP opinion poll on a proposed change to include an exemption permit process for livestock in urban areas.
December 10, 2019 – The County presented recommendations to Council for a responsible livestock ownership bylaw to replace the Animal Control Bylaw.