Responsible Livestock Ownership Bylaw update

Thank you to all the rural residents who completed the recent survey about the proposed Responsible Livestock Ownership Bylaw.

Read the full survey results report.

Next steps

Strathcona County is moving forward with modernizations and enhancements to the bylaw. The focus will be on responsible livestock ownership that will minimize disease risk, protect animal welfare and support environmental and land stewardship.

The proposed bylaw will not include any change from the livestock allowances outlined in the current Animal Control Bylaw.

We heard many questions and concerns from residents about proposed allowances during the last phase of engagement. Allowances may be reviewed again in the future, with the potential for additional engagement to better understand the interests and needs of our rural community.

Last modified: July 14, 2022, 9:08 a.m.

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.

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.

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 bylaw 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

Modernizations needed for our community

The proposed bylaw is about more than controlling animals. Modernizations will include:

  • Temporary livestock event permits - intentional and safe opportunities to experience livestock in urban areas
  • Inclusion of an appeal process for permits - common practice for bylaws that allow for permits to be issued
  • Banning of new wild boar farms - protecting wildlife, environment and agriculture from wild boar at large, a provincial pest
  • Livestock officer designation - achieving compliance through education
  • Honeybee management - encouraging honeybee health

Enhancements to support responsible livestock ownership

Enhancements to the bylaw will ensure the County can provide the resources to support residents before enforcement is needed to:

Minimize disease risk

  • Livestock health is monitored, and animals are treated when sick
  • Disease risk is reduced through management of manure, other waste and deadstock 

Support animal welfare

  • Animal wellness considerations for space and housing requirements, needs of herd animals and predation control

Promote environmental and land stewardship

  • Permit process will help residents consider livestock management needs specific to their application 
  • Expanded fees and charges schedule for infractions of bylaw has been developed
  • Livestock are contained for the safety of the public and livestock
  • Pasture management is conducted in a way that minimizes overgrazing
  • Minimize manure runoff onto or into adjacent properties, riparian areas, ground water and water, and watercourses

Next steps

Administration will work with Legislative and Legal Services to finalize the proposed bylaw, with the expectation to return to Council for approval in Q4 2022. If approved, the bylaw will be effective immediately.


June 21, 2022 – The County presented a recommendation to Council to move forward with proposed modernizations and enhancements to the bylaw, without changing the livestock allowances outlined in the current Animal Control Bylaw.

April/May 2022 – Rural resident survey to review proposed allowances, gather data on over-limit permits, and understand resident preferences for resources and supports.

July 20, 2021 – Draft Responsible Livestock Ownership bylaw presented to Council for approval. Administration requested to complete additional work, including gathering resident feedback on the proposed bylaw.  

January 26, 2021 – Results of rural resident engagement presented to Council.  

July/August/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.   

December 10, 2019 – The County presented recommendations to Council for a responsible livestock ownership bylaw to replace the Animal Control Bylaw. 

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.

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.

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 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.

Further information:

Last updated: Thursday, July 14, 2022
Page ID: 44807