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What is the intent of the proposed by-law?
The proposed regulations were written to permit property owners within an urban setting to keep backyard hens with significant consideration given to animal welfare and public health. Additional provisions were added to address possible concerns from neighbouring property owners.
Would the regulations apply to all properties within the municipal boundary or only certain residential zones?
The proposed regulations are for all properties within Halton Hills that can comply with the regulations ie: setbacks from lot line.
Is there a complaint threshold on which the Town would consider taking action against a specific owner?
A limit on the number of complaints a property can receive is not part of the regulations currently. So in other words, there is no “three strikes and you’re out” process in place. Enforcement staff will investigate each complaint and through the investigation process, the officer will determine what next steps or action taken needs to be. Ie: warning, written notice of violation.
How does the Town’s current noise by-law apply to the keeping of hens?
The Town of Halton Hills Noise By-law 2010-0030 does not currently address noise from hens. However, in the proposed regulations, there is a provision that requires owners to keep hens inside the chicken coop between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Keeping the hens inside the coop will reduce and/or prevent noise during those hours.
How will the Town handle complaints?
The proposed regulations require owners to keep their hens in a manner that does not cause a nuisance to adjacent neighbours.
Any complaint received with respect to the keeping of hens will be thoroughly investigated by Town staff. Any violations or concerns observed will be addressed with the property owner through discussion (education component), verbal warning or written notice of violation.
Repeat instances of non-compliance may result in property owners facing additional measures to ensure the regulations are complied with. Ie: fines and/or court action.
What about cleanliness issues, how will the Town ensure hen coops are kept clean?
The proposed regulations require hen owners to regularly clean the coops as well as disinfect the coop a minimum of two times annually. The proposed regulations further require hen owners to maintain their coops in a clean and sanitary condition and be kept free of obnoxious odours or substances and vermin.
Will complaints be kept anonymous?
Regarding enforcement matters, all complainant information is kept confidential and is protected under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Therefore, a complainant is not identified through the investigation process.
What is the difference between a permit and a license?
Licenses are more general, granting permission to do something or use something. Permits are usually given for safety issues, like health permits, and may require an inspection before they are granted.
How do people humanely dispose of sick or old chickens?
Hen owners should seek professional services to deal with a sick or old chicken such as a veterinarian or a mobile abattoir (where available).