Animal Control Bylaw
Responsible Livestock Bylaw public engagement
Visit the public engagement reporting page for a summary and full report on the results of the 2020 Results of the Responsible Livestock survey.
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:
- Finalizing a proposed new responsible livestock ownership bylaw to replace the animal control and apiculture (honeybee) bylaws.
- Review amendments with Legislative and Legal Services.
- Bring Council a proposed new bylaw to replace the Animal Control Bylaw and Apiculture Bylaw - anticipated in Q2 2021.
- Create process and forms.
- Communicate changes to the bylaw.
- Implement changes to the bylaw. The bylaw is anticipated to come into effect six to eight months after the bylaw is approved.
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, a proposed new Responsible Livestock Ownership Bylaw will address resident needs while protecting health, safety, the environment and economy. A focus on responsible livestock ownership will minimize disease risk, and support animal welfare, land stewardship and opportunities for agriculture, while balancing the expectations of rural living, neighbour relations and community.
Considerations informing the proposed new bylaw will include:
- Resident feedback
- Legislative requirements
- Land stewardship
- Public health
- Animal health
- Disease risk
- Food security
- Commercial producers and access to markets
- Municipal obligations under provincial legislation
November 29, 2016 - Strathcona County presented the final Urban Agriculture Strategy to Council for debate and approval.
- Resident feedback informed the recommendations on urban livestock, including the decision to develop a responsible livestock bylaw.
- A summary of engagement can be found in the strategy.
- 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.
July/ August and October 2020 – Rural resident engagement via survey and focus groups. Rural residents, including acreage owners and large and small agriculture producers provided input specific to livestock types and amounts, specifically on smaller rural properties.
- Responsible Livestock Survey - Summary Report - 2020 (150.9 KB)
- Responsible Livestock Focus Groups - Summary Report - 2020 (371.8 KB)
- Responsible Livestock Focus Groups Evaluation Survey - Summary Report - 2020 (183.1 KB)
January 26, 2021 – present results of rural resident engagement to Council.