Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pickering By-Law Changes Animal Ownership...One Pig Per Person Please

PICKERING -- Pickering has put limits on some exotic pets in Pickering, but is making the snake allowance a little less constricting. Pickering council passed an updated livestock and exotic pets bylaw on Feb. 22, which speaks on all animals aside from cats and dogs. The bylaw identifies areas where certain animals can be kept and owned. It also stipulates that no one can feed wildlife within the city. "By feeding the geese and feeding the wildlife, you're attracting some of the larger wildlife such as the fox and the coyotes," said Lindsey Narraway, Pickering animal services supervisor. Plus, bread isn't part of their natural diet, Mayor Dave Ryan noted at the executive committee meeting.

While venomous snakes were never allowed in Pickering in the past and still are not, the City is allowing constricting snakes that will reach less than two feet long when they reach adulthood. Staff came up with this based on various consultations, and it basically means the City will allow the ball python. "A ball python doesn't have a safety risk in terms of constricting," Ms. Narraway said. Of course, the snakes, as well as any other pet in Pickering, must not run at large.

In the old bylaw, there was no mention of potbellied pigs, and now there is a limit of one per dwelling unit. Residents are allowed up to three domestic rabbits and two domestic ferrets or chinchillas. The bylaw states that domestic owners of pigeons keep no more than 30 at once. There are also a number of stipulations regarding pigeons, such as each one must wear an identification band around their leg and they must be enclosed at all times, except for their one daily flight. Ms. Narraway said the City hasn't received too many complaints regarding pigeons, but chose to be proactive on the issue.

The bylaw also allows temporary licences to house animals -- in the form of carnivals, zoos and public shows, for example -- that involve animals that would otherwise be prohibited. "Prior to that, they just weren't allowed," Ms. Narraway said. Some of the rules regarding possible euthanization of animals impounded by the City had some councillors concerned at the executive committee meeting. The bylaw says that on the sixth day of impoundment, exclusive of Sundays and stat holidays, the City can either sell or make a gift of the animal, otherwise dispose of the animal, or if necessary, euthanize it.

Ms. Narraway explained the bylaw basically means the animal is property of the City after the sixth day and added, "We don't like to euthanize animals. That is definitely a last resort." Instead, she said the City has in the past picked up stray domestic snakes, for example, and has donated them to the Toronto Zoo after the allotted time. There are also a number of regulations surrounding livestock and birds, such as allowing geese, ducks and swans in agricultural zones only.