Cat limit, permitting Urban Hobby Beekeeping highlight amendments to Yorkton’s Animal Control Bylaw

The City of Yorkton’s Animal Control Bylaw has been updated, following a review.

Bylaw and Safety Supervisor Nicole Baptist says the last update was made in 2018, and reviews are held every two to three years for often-used bylaws such as this one to ensure it meets the community’s needs and enforcement.

Two notable changes were made: a limit of 5 cats per household within the City, and allowing Urban Hobby Beekeeping, specifically for honeybees.

“We were getting more complaints of residents that were keeping a fairly large number of cats and we need to enforce that,” Baptist said of the updated cat rules. “This will give us that parameters that we can.”

Exceeding the limit would result in a 200 dollar fine, but Baptist noted enforcement is mainly complaint-driven.

A definition for animal rescues, and clauses are included in the bylaw to prevent pet owners from making incorrect claims that they are a rescue to exceed the limit.

The definition reads an animal rescue/welfare organization is “a non-profit corporation that is incorporated, continued or registered pursuant to The Non-Profit Corporation Act or equivalent from other provinces or federally incorporated non-profit corporation; and which is approved and registered by Canada Revenue Agency as a charity”.

However, at the discretion of an Animal Control Officer, an exemption may be granted for households fostering cats through a non-profit animal rescue, provided the cats are not a nuisance.

Regarding beekeeping, Baptist noted there was a pilot project last summer.

“We had a lot of inquiries during the pilot project. We had one family that did actually take part in the pilot project and we’re very excited to see this going forward as they were the ones who (initiated) this and I’m very excited to see this progress.” she said.

The cost for an Urban Beekeeping License for honeybees is 50 dollars annually. Fines for exceeding the limit of one active hive with six supers is 100 dollars, and keeping honeybees without a license is 200 dollars.

Also under the beekeeping section of the bylaw, all beekeepers must:

(a) Place the hive entrance to be directed away from adjacent residential properties.
(b) Not be within 25 metres from any public space or school property.
(c) Provide a water source within the backyard for the bees.
(d) Provide a standard of care to prevent disease and swarms
(e) Notify all surrounding neighbours within a 25 metre radius of their property with a letter provided from the City of Yorkton.
(f) Notify all neighbours adjacent to their property with a letter provided from the City of Yorkton to notify them prior to honey extraction days.
(g) Take the Saskatchewan Beekeeping Development Commission Introductory Course and provide documentation to the Bylaw & Safety Supervisor that this was completed successfully.
(h) Register as a beekeeper, as per The Apiaries Act and Regulations, with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture

Yorkton City Council approved the amended bylaw at the May 9 regular council meeting. More information on the amendments can be found on pages 59-115 on the Regular Council Meeting Agenda.

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