Seems that a couple (illegal) urban chicken farmers up in Hamilton, Ontario (located southwest of Toronto) were busted for keeping three hens within city limits. It seems chickens are illegal for the typical (misinformed) reasons:
The city cites noise, smell and risk of diseases such as avian flu and salmonella poisoning as reasons to ban the birds.
“Chickens do create guano and there is an odour associated with this animal,” said Paul Buckle, manager of the city’s animal control department.
(As usual, I find it useful to substitute "dogs" for "chickens" in these things to see if the reasoning stands the same... it usually does, but chickens get the raw deal)
In any case, the illegal chicken farmers got the support of all but a single neighbor for their chicken-raising ways, and you can guess who's suspected of turning the chickens in. After code enforcement was called in, the chickens were given a month to move out. The chooks are now living out on a farm.
Luckily, there's a silver lining to the story with good news for aspiring urban chicken farmers in nearby Waterloo:
Hamilton isn’t the first city to grapple with the demand for urban chickens. Back-yard hens are legal in Niagara Falls and London, and Waterloo is in the process of revising its animal control bylaws to legalize chickens, said David Calder, general manager of corporate services at the city of Waterloo.
“Our animal control bylaw was antiquated in a lot of ways, not just about raising chickens.”
Calder is drafting a bylaw that would allow Waterloo residents to have hens on their properties. It stipulates that no more than 10 hens could be kept on one property, that chickens could only be kept in the yards of detached homes — no townhouses or apartments — and that chickens must be kept in backyards that measure more than 12 metres by 30.5 metres. Council will vote on the bylaw in November.
I look forward to reporting the good news when the bylaw is passed!