Calgary council committee approves pet bylaw changes that would allow urban hens

A city council committee approved several changes to Calgary’s responsible pet ownership bylaw on Wednesday, including new provisions that allow people to keep backyard hens.

Revised rules would limit households to 6 dogs and cats

Calgarians would be allowed to keep hens in their backyard under a proposed revision of the city's pet bylaw. (Elizabeth McMillan/CBC)

A city council committee approved several changes to Calgary's responsible pet ownership bylaw on Wednesday, including new provisions that allow people to keep backyard hens.

The urban hen program would require hen keepers to get formal training and "adhere to generally accepted hen keeping practices to mitigate community nuisance."

Other proposed changes to the bylaw include:

  • Giving the chief bylaw officer the authority to declare an animal vicious. Currently that designation requires a court order.
  • Limiting ownership to six dogs and six cats per household.
  • Limiting the number of dogs a person can bring to an off-leash area to six.

Committee chair Coun.Gian-Carlo Carra says the wording on some sections of the bylaw might seem to give bylaw officers too much discretion. 

He says the city's approach is always to educate people first while maintaining the ability to deal with those who don't care about the rules.

"Every once in a while, you find legitimate bad actors who are committed to acting badly, and it is really disappointing when your bylaws don't have enough teeth to be able to chastise those bad actors for being bad actors, when you have to," he said.

City council will discuss the bylaw changes later this month. 

If approved, the changes will take effect on Jan. 1 of next year

With files from Scott Dippel


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