What is Strathcona County position on Bylaw 18-2011?
In light of the ongoing attention surrounding the pot-belly pig, being kept in the Sherwood Park urban service area, and Animal Control Bylaw 18-2011, Strathcona County would like to state its position on this issue.
Strathcona County establishes bylaws to address issues and concerns of the local community, and reviews the bylaws regularly. Bylaws are created to ensure public health, to protect the environment, private and public property, and to maintain an orderly appearance in the community.
Concerns have been raised on both sides of the issue of having a pot-belly pig live in Sherwood Park. We appreciate respectful dialogue with our residents and have considered the issue from all sides. We wish to remind our citizens of the importance of our bylaws and their responsibility to adhere to them.
This discussion has prompted debate about the pig’s status as a pet, and as a therapy animal, neither of which we question. At the end of the day; however, he is still a member of the pig family and is subject to the same municipal bylaws and provincial Acts as other pigs. It also compromises our urban community standards and the reasonable expectations of those moving into an urban setting.
We have been asked to make a special exception; however, the bylaw does not allow for exemptions. Strathcona County has found no examples of surrounding municipalities that issue special permits to house pigs in urban centres.
There are other options available within Strathcona County, outside of Sherwood Park, for the safe housing of a pot-belly pig. We are ready and willing to work with the Kropp family to find a suitable rural home.
Will the County be euthanizing the pig?
Absolutely not. Strathcona County has offered to work with the owner to look for a suitable rural home for the pig.
Why can’t a pot-belly pig live in Sherwood Park?
Over the past few years there has been a trend in North America to introduce livestock into urban centres for many reasons, including companionship, therapeutic use, business ventures, and food production. One of the many reasons for the Animal Control Bylaw is to ensure public health, protect the environment and property.
This trend, to co-mingle livestock and humans, has led governments and agricultural producer groups to form legislation and regulations around protecting livestock and their industries, and biosecurity measures have become embedded into agricultural operations. Animal control measures are compromised when livestock are introduced into non-traditional settings like urban centres. For these reasons, the housing and raising of livestock, which includes pot-belly pigs, within a hamlet in Strathcona County, is not permitted for any reason under the Animal Control Bylaw 18-2011.
What if the owner has nowhere to send the pig?
There are several options available within Strathcona County, outside of Sherwood Park, for the safe housing of a pot-belly pig. We are ready and willing to work with the owner to find a suitable rural home. In addition, we understand that the Rescue and Sanctuary for Threatened Animals has offered to provide a home for the pig.
Why can’t a special permit be given for this pig?
There has been a great deal of discussion about the pig’s status as a pet, and as a therapy animal, neither of which we question. At the end of the day; however, he is still a member of the pig family and is subject to the same municipal bylaws and provincial Acts as other pigs. Housing a pig in Sherwood Park also compromises our urban community standards and the reasonable expectations of those moving into an urban setting. In order to maintain the integrity of the Animal Control Bylaw, exemptions are not possible.
In recent years, there has been an increase in using livestock as therapy animals. These animals are taken to schools, assisted living care centres, and hospitals to help encourage and support people in their need. Strathcona County is supportive of the great gains of using animals for therapy, provided the owners adhere to the animal control bylaw. It is important to note that municipal bylaws and provincial Acts apply, even if an animal is certified. The reputable associations and societies stress the importance of this before purchasing an animal for their training programs.
I’ve heard that other communities allow pot-belly pigs to live in urban centres.
Strathcona County has found no examples of municipalities in the region that issue special permits to residents to house pigs in residential areas.
What is the County’s definition of livestock?
According to the Animal Control Bylaw 18-2011, “Livestock” means bison, horses, cattle, swine, donkeys, mules, oxen, Large Controlled Animals and Wildlife, sheep, goats, Medium Controlled Animals and Wildlife.
What about the online petition?
The online petition contains incorrect information, and it is interesting to note, the majority of people who signed live outside of Strathcona County. There are no exemptions under the Animal Control Bylaw.