Town council Feb.8
Councillors discussed pigeon ownership and the animal bylaw 4567/2019.
Councillor Cathy Couey spoke of some of the confusion happening surrounding this topic. She wanted the public to know that this bylaw was brought back to council, because councillors wanted to hear from both sides, as at first, they only heard for reasons against pigeon ownership.
Councillor Carol MacMillan said that she believes there needs to be a compromise.
She believes pigeon ownership should be permitted after hearing from both sides.
“I think we are a vibrant and welcoming community. As long as pigeons are licensed and rules are followed… I’m for it.”
Councillor MacMillan said she is voting with her heart for this one because of the story that was shared to council of a resident with a disabled child who pigeons cheer up and bring joy to the child.
Councillor Bruce Masterman stated he was against pigeon ownership.
“We’ve spent a ton of time on this. Administration has spent a lot of time on this. We have talked about this and we’ve talked about this. But we have never given permission to pigeon ownership and to me it seems we have been trying to almost bend over backwards to accommodate these illegitimate operations.”
The town has never allowed ownership of pigeons, but they haven’t enforced it well.
Masterman went on to say there no way council will ever be able to control it at maximum 10 pigeons. He thinks it will create a mess in town and that there are far more important issues and does not want to support it at all.
Peter Genereux, Manager of Emergency management and protective services for High River was asked by Councillor Don Moore if there will be more wild pigeons in the community if they permit ownership and Genereux said he does not believe so.
Councillor Couey says she is most concerned for neighbours hearing pigeon noises.
“I fear this will pit neighbours against neighabours and it will create far more angst in our community,” she said.
Mayor Craig Snodgrass said he sees where Councillor MacMillan is coming from but there are other ways to comfort or help bring joy to this child.
Councillors then voted on whether to give second reading the Animal Bylaw in regards to owning pigeons. The motion was defeated by a vote of 6-1 with Councillor MacMillan being the only one in favour.
Ownership of pigeons will not be permitted.