Red Deer County has responded to concerns that a proposed animal control bylaw was too restrictive for residents on larger acreages.
County staff had looked at other municipalities and gathered public input before coming up with a bylaw that would allow livestock for personal use on country residential and residential low-density properties two acres or more in size.
The bylaw would allow one animal unit on two- to three-acre properties and two units on properties over three acres.
An animal unit might include more than one animal. For instance, it would include one cow or pig, but two calves or four weaner pigs; one horse but two llamas or three sheep, goats and alpacas; or 20 rabbits (up from 10) or 20 chickens, ducks or geese (up from six).
Several people living on acreages five acres or more said the rules restricting the number of animals allowed were too strict in their cases because they had much more land than standard-sized acreages.
One speaker at a public hearing two weeks ago said the bylaw would mean giving up some of the urban hens here family relies on for eggs. Another resident, who owns a large acreage, said the bylaw would mean getting rid of some of their horses.
Council agreed it was worth taking another look at the bylaw in light of what Mayor Jim Wood called “anomalies” in acreage sizes.
A staff investigation found that of the county’s 1,522 acreages, there were 85 between four and five acres and 65 between five and 10 acres. Thirteen acreages were over 10 acres.
Under changes approved by council on Tuesday, the animal bylaw will not apply to agricultural properties or country residential properties over 10 acres.
Also, those who want more animals than allowed on properties of three up to 10 acres can seek permission from the county manager. Each case will be reviewed on its own merits.
Changes were also made involving urban hens. Those living on a property 1.99 acres or less are allowed six. Those living on properties of two to three acres will be allowed up to 20, an increase from the 12 originally proposed. On properties of three to 10 acres, up to 40 urban hens will be allowed.
Acreages under two acres can’t have any animals other than urban hens and the usual domestic pets.