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County will allow hamlet landowners to keep livestock on their property

Posted on March 15, 2023 by Sunny South News

By Erika Mathieu

Sunny South News

Lethbridge County Council has approved changes to the Animal Control Bylaw which allows hamlet landowners to keep a limited number of livestock on their property, depending on the size of the land parcel.

The changes to the Animal Control Bylaw was born out of a bylaw enforcement measure in 2022 where cattle were found on a residential acreage in the hamlet of Iron Springs. The bylaw permits the keeping of animals within hamlets based on parcel size with a maximum limit of five animal units.

A delegation in 2022 brought the matter before council where it was noted that livestock were not permitted on properties within hamlet boundaries, regardless of the size of the land parcel. Accompanying this was a request for council to review the Animal Control Bylaw and consider amendments which would allow for a small number of “animal units” on residential parcels within hamlets which met certain land requirements.

Following the delegation, administration brought Bylaw 22-020 forward to council and was read for the first time during the Dec. 15, 2022 regular council meeting. Following this, a public engagement survey commenced which garnered responses from approximately 237 respondents. Administration said there were, “divergent opinions on the matter,” and the survey prompted the second highest number of responses received by the County during a public engagement survey.

Reeve Tory Campbell said council’s decision to adopt the bylaw allowing for, “small numbers of livestock supports the agricultural identity of Lethbridge County by giving residents the choice to raise these animals while having parameters in place to mitigate any negative impacts on neighbouring properties.”

Unlike animal control bylaws adopted by incorporated municipalities for urban hens or goats which require residents be approved through a municipal licensing system, property owners interested in keeping livestock units within County hamlets (unincorporated) may do so without obtaining a permit through Lethbridge County. However, the bylaw also clearly states properties housing animals which are improperly cared for will be subject to enforcement measures and fines.

Lethbridge County’s supervisor of planning and development, Hillary Janzen, noted during the March 2 council meeting that the bylaw recognizes contiguous parcels owned by one landowner when determining if the land(s) meet the size requirement.

Under the amended Bylaw 22-020, hamlet properties will now be permitted up to five animal units, depending on the size of the parcel. Parcels under one acre are permitted 0.25 animal units, 1.0-1.99 acre parcels are permitted one unit, 2.0-2.99 acre parcels are permitted two animal units, and 3.0-3.99 acres are permitted three units. Parcels four acres or larger are allowed five animal units.

As defined under the bylaw, one animal unit is equivalent to one of the following animals: Horse, donkey, alpaca, llama, cow, elk, bison, and mules or steers over one year old. One animal unit is equal to: Two colts up to one year old, two ostriches, emus, or other ratite, two calves up to one year old, two swine over a year old, three sheep or goats over one year old, 10 ducks, turkeys, pheasants, geese or other similar fowl or in combination thereof, 15 laying chickens, 20 rabbits or other similar rodents, or 50 broiler chickens.

To read Bylaw 22-020 in its entirety, visit https://www.lethcounty.ca/p/bylaws.

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