Nova Scotia

Cape Breton Regional Municipality brings back urban rooster ban

Last year, Cape Breton Regional Municipality passed a new bylaw allowing residents to keep livestock no matter where they live, but council has had to backpedal on part of the bylaw after an outcry over roosters in urban areas.

'I feel like a prisoner in my own home,' says North Sydney resident whose neighbour has two roosters

Cape Breton regional councillors are backpedalling on last year's animal husbandry bylaw after an outcry over a provision that allowed roosters to be kept in urban areas. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

Urban residents of Cape Breton Regional Municipality can no longer keep roosters on their property, after councillors passed a revamped animal husbandry bylaw Tuesday that includes a ban on the birds.

Other kinds of livestock are allowed, so long as they meet noise and odour limits set out in the bylaw.

For at least one resident, the ban on roosters couldn't come soon enough.

"Since March of last year, almost 12 months now, we have all had no choice but to, I would say, be mentally tortured by at least two roosters that my next-door neighbour has, as well as a lot of other noisy animals," Ursulina Crocker of North Sydney told CBRM council on Tuesday.

"I feel like a prisoner in my own home, which is unacceptable to me in 2020."

Crocker said her neighbour's livestock could come as close as two to three metres from her house, and she said they were keeping her up at all hours of the night.

Deemed unenforceable

The animal husbandry bylaw was introduced last spring, but was deemed unenforceable by the province, so council revisited the document late last year.

While they were beefing up the language, councillors also decided to take another look at a rooster ban in urban areas.

CBRM's animal husbandry bylaw sets noise and odour limits that Cape Breton Regional Police were ready to enforce. In fact, police and the provincial Department of Agriculture had input into the bylaw.

It defines urban areas as any community where residents are connected to the municipal sewer system.

The bylaw initially called for a ban on urban roosters, but after an outcry from livestock owners, that was removed before it was passed last year.

This week, Coun. Amanda McDougall opposed the rooster ban, saying the municipality needs to encourage people to grow small gardens and keep some livestock to improve food security on Cape Breton Island.

CBRM Coun. Amanda McDougall says locally grown food helps address food insecurity and poverty in Cape Breton and approving a rezoning to allow that is a 'no-brainer.' (Tom Ayers/CBC)

She said banning one species won't solve the problem of noisy farm animals.

"What we need to do is make sure people are following animal husbandry standards," McDougall said.

Coun. Earlene MacMullin said she has had more than one complaint from urban residents upset with noisy roosters next door.

She said taking the urban rooster ban out of the original bylaw was a mistake.

Coun. Eldon MacDonald says farm animals don't belong in urban areas and no one should have to live next door to a hobby farm. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

Coun. Eldon MacDonald agreed, saying farm animals don't belong in urban areas.

"No one should have to live 10 feet away from what ... sounds like it's a hobby farm," he said.

The rooster ban passed, but McDougall said the battle may not be over.

She said the ban will unfairly affect people living in semi-rural communities that have municipal sewer, such as Birch Grove.



Tom Ayers


Tom Ayers has been a reporter and editor for 37 years. He has spent the last 19 covering Cape Breton and Nova Scotia stories. You can reach him at


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