Clinton considers new animal control bylaw. (Kent Phelan Photo)

Clinton 4-H member seeks changes to animal control bylaw

Issue arises after 4-H Club member Libby McIlravey sends letter to council.

The Village of Clinton will look at revising its Animal Control Bylaw relating to the keeping of livestock for 4-H Club projects.

The move comes after 4-H Club member Libby McIlravey sent a letter to council, taking issue with Section 18b of the bylaw. The bylaw allows for the keeping of livestock on properties otherwise prohibited under the Zoning Bylaw, for a youth raising an animal for a 4-H project. However, the bylaw wording only refers to “an animal,” and doesn’t outline what happens if a livestock project requires breeding of the project animal and ultimately keeping the offspring with its mother.

“Our farm animal bylaw 18b, in the village of Clinton, lacks the proper info to support any 4H child properly, in town limits, wanting to do a livestock project,” said the letter, signed by both Libby and her mom, Coun. Kim MvIlravey. McIlvravey recused herself from the council discussion.

Mayor Susan Swan suggested that it would be a good idea to overhaul the entire bylaw rather than just the section under consideration. CAO Murray Daly agreed, saying it would be good to review it in conjunction with the Zoning Bylaw, which is also being revised.

At the moment, he said, there are inconsistencies in the two bylaws. Residents are allowed to have backyard hens, for instance, but the zoning bylaw states they must be 65 feet from the property line, which is problematic for most properties in town if they are only 50 feet wide.

Daly said a working group will likely be established to gauge input from the general public and agricultural community to shape the bylaw and ensure it complements the zoning rules.

“We’re not going to focus on this one element; we’re going to take a holistic approach and get some good feedback from the community,” he said. “We’ll see how it’s working and where it’s failing.”

He noted outsiders coming into Clinton tend to see the village as a farming- ranching community. “You start to expect to see those things.”

Coun. Sandi Burrage noted that with the pandemic, people were also looking for other animal-related changes, such as keeping chickens. “It’s very timely to do.”


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