Animal Control Bylaw
About the Animal Control Bylaw
The Animal Control Bylaw 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 Strathcona County and are interested in keeping livestock or poultry on your property, the Animal Control Bylaw 18-2011 (564.1 KB) will apply to you.
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.
Updating the Animal Control Bylaw
Bylaws are reviewed regularly, and are established and enforced to protect the health, safety and well-being of all County residents.
The Animal Control Bylaw was reviewed as part of the Urban Agriculture Strategy development in 2016. This timing was determined to be the most strategic, efficient and cost effective manner to address all stakeholder needs.
Next steps in amending the bylaw include:
- Update proposed bylaw based on input from November 13, 2018 Priorities Committee meeting
- Review amendments with Legislative and Legal Services
- Bring Council a proposed bylaw to amend the Animal Control Bylaw by spring 2019
- Create process and forms
- Implement changes to the bylaw
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is there an opportunity for an exemption to the bylaw?Permanent link to Is there an opportunity for an exemption to the bylaw?
No. In order to maintain the integrity of the Animal Control Bylaw, exemptions are not possible at this time.
What is the Bylaw Enforcement Process?
Strathcona County has a duty to uphold its bylaws, for the greater good of the community.
Information on the Bylaw Enforcement Process.
3. How was the Animal Control Bylaw review conducted?Permanent link to How was the Animal Control Bylaw review conducted?
The Animal Control Bylaw was reviewed as part of the Urban Agriculture Strategy development in 2016.
The strategy’s action areas are being implemented in priority of greatest interest to residents. Community gardens and urban chickens were completed first.
Throughout the Urban Agriculture Strategy development, we ensured there was conversation and engagement on livestock and other animals as pets in urban areas. This was a polarizing topic with both support and concern.
Resident feedback has informed the recommendations on urban livestock. Following significant public engagement, Strathcona County reviewed local impacts of an urban chicken pilot program in May 2017. It was determined an urban chicken program is not suitable for the needs of our specialized community.
All other animals and livestock were part of the research and consideration on a proposed new Alternative Pets Bylaw. It was determined that rather than developing a new bylaw, amendments if required could be made to the Animal Control Bylaw. Recommendations were presented at the November 13, 2018 Priorities Committee meeting.
4. 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.
5. Are exotic pets and livestock now allowed in urban backyards?Permanent link to Are exotic pets and livestock now allowed in urban backyards?
6. Will backyard bees be allowed in the County?Permanent link to Will backyard bees be 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.
7. Will there be an Alternative Pets Bylaw?Permanent link to Will there be an Alternative Pets Bylaw?
Following the review of urban chickens, the County conducted research and analysis of provincial and federal legislation regulating livestock species in order to examine the need for an alternative pets bylaw.
Significant research was required. Considerations included a review of regulations, as well as prohibitions on animal species and breeds, based on size, potential safety threat if an animal escapes, level of noise and amount of waste an animal produces, and potential threat to commercial agriculture.
The review of provincial and federal regulations indicated that Alberta remains one of the most well regulated provinces in Canada. It was determined that rather than developing a new bylaw, amendments if required could be made to the existing Animal Control Bylaw.