On May 10, 2021, Council passed a bylaw to regulate keeping pigeons in the District.
About the bylaw
We developed the Pigeon Regulation Bylaw with input from the SPCA and key stakeholders involved in pigeon keeping.
The bylaw allows residents to keep pigeons, subject to complying with regulations in the bylaw. The regulations state that anyone keeping pigeons must:
- obtain a permit
- keep no more than a maximum of 20 pigeons
- house the pigeons in one loft, located in a rear yard and complying with minimum setbacks from other buildings and property lines
- provide adequate floor space in the loft to ensure animal welfare
- maintain the loft in a sanitary condition at all times
- prohibit the pigeons from straying, perching, roosting, resting or nesting upon any property other than the owner's
Bylaw creation timeline
May 10, 2021 — Council adoption
The new Pigeon Regulation Bylaw was passed by Council.
April 26, 2021 — Council consideration
The proposed bylaw was presented to Council for their further consideration.
April 19, 2021 — Public meeting
We held a public meeting to give residents a chance to learn more about the proposed bylaw and share their views. Due to the situation with COVID-19, the meeting was held virtually.
March 9 to April 19, 2021 — Online public input
We collected feedback from the public about the proposed new bylaw, using a form on this web page.
March 8, 2021 — Proposed bylaw presented to Council
The proposed new Pigeon Regulation Bylaw ws presented to Council for their consideration and referred to a public meeting for input.
October 19, 2020 — Replacement bylaw
Council directed staff to prepare a new bylaw that would regulate keeping pigeons, to replace the Pigeon Prohibition Bylaw.
November 4, 2019 — Pigeon Prohibition Bylaw
Council adopted the new Pigeon Prohibition Bylaw to prohibit keeping pigeons.
July 8, 2019 — Bylaw repealed
Council directed staff to repeal the 1971 Keeping of Pigeons Bylaw and prepare a replacement bylaw that would prohibit keeping pigeons.
June 14, 1971 — Keeping of Pigeons Bylaw
Council adopted the Keeping of Pigeons Bylaw to regulate keeping pigeons in the District.
What's in the bylaw
The regulations in the bylaw will help ensure pigeons can be kept in a manner that is safe, sanitary, and humane, while also sensitive to the needs of neighbouring properties.
This table summarizes key differences between the repealed Keeping of Pigeons Bylaw 4078 (1971) and the Pigeon Regulation Bylaw 8470 (2021):
|Subject||Keeping of Pigeons Bylaw 4078 (repealed)||Pigeon Regulation Bylaw 8470 (adopted)|
|Approval||Permit required (contents of permit application contained in the bylaw).||Permit required (contents of permit application removed from bylaw for administrative purposes).|
|Number of pigeons allowed||No limit.||Maximum 20 pigeons.|
|Keeping & temporary release||
Pigeons may not stray, perch, roost, feed, or nest on land or buildings except the property of the pigeon owner and for the purpose of exercising or racing.
Must be under the control of the owner when exercising or racing.
Pigeons may not stray, perch, roost, rest or nest upon any parcel other than the parcel identified in the permit.
To be kept within loft at all times except for limited periods necessary for exercise, training or competition when such pigeons must be under the owner’s control.
|Pest control||Kept clean. No requirements for feed in bylaw but to be managed according to other District bylaws.||Kept clean. Pigeon feed must be stored according to District bylaws in a wildlife-resistant container.|
|Fines||No fines; enforcement would proceed by way of court process.||Fines included; local adjudication process.|
*The minimum lot size of 5920 sq ft in the new Keeping of Pigeons Bylaw (8470) is the same as the repealed Keeping of Pigeons Bylaw (4078)
Developing the bylaw
Many municipalities in Canada, including Surrey, Vancouver, Richmond, Toronto, Edmonton, and Brampton, regulate keeping pigeons on private property.
However, regulating this activity varies across the municipalities. We prepared the proposed bylaw following a comprehensive review of approaches taken by other municipalities.
Staff consulted with the Canadian Racing Pigeon Union Inc., Canadian Fancy Pigeon Association, Vancouver Poultry & Fancy Pigeon Association, and any known keepers of pigeons within the District in preparation of the bylaw. Staff also met with the SPCA to ensure there were no concerns regarding the bylaw contents and animal welfare.
We also reviewed the 1971 Pigeons Bylaw to identify modernization opportunities and incorporate best practices. The proposed bylaw includes general regulations on setbacks, location, size, cleanliness, and pigeon lofts’ upkeep. Prohibitions are also included in the bylaw, as well as regulations for enforcement.
The content of the proposed bylaw generally aligns with those seen elsewhere yet contains adjustments that reflect considerations unique to the District and remains consistent with the intent of the 1971 bylaw.
From 1971 to 2019, the Keeping of Pigeons Bylaw regulated this activity in the District. Council repealed this bylaw on November 4, 2019, and replaced it with the Pigeon Prohibition Bylaw, which prohibited keeping pigeons.
In October 2020, Council directed staff to prepare a new bylaw that would maintain the intent of the original 1971 bylaw, but modernize it to align with current best practice.
For an overview, read the staff report to council.