Harbour Grace amending farm animal regulations
Animal owners in community may receive general application
Harbour Grace is continuing to improve and make amendments to their regulations regarding farm animals in the community.
Earlier in 2018, Harbour Grace council sought to track down landowners in residential zones who had farm animals such as horses, cows, or sheep on their property without proper permits.
At that time, it was stated any residents found holding such animals without having put in an application would have the animals removed from the property after a certain date.
More recently, letters were sent out to certain residents informing them of the regulation, and how it would be enforced, all while advising these residents to either acquire the permits, or remove the animals from the properties.
During a regular meeting of council, held on Sept. 24, council spoke further on the topic, and Mayor Don Coombs went into further detail on some alterations that would be made to the regulations.
Coombs explained he had a meeting with residents, many of whom had animals of their own and were concerned about the letters in question, noting that some people had received them, while others, who also had such animals on their property, did not..
“They came to deal with properties that (hosted such animals) previous to 2010,” Coombs said. “They addressed concerns about why certain people were getting letters about their animals, and certain people were not. These are people that have had animals in the town of Harbour Grace for the last 40 years, sometimes more. These people are farmers of animals, and when it came to filling out the application, they saw some problems with telling council how many animals they had because there could be a calf born tonight and another calf sold tomorrow.”
Coombs went on to explain the people he had met with felt as though they were being targeted by council with these regulations and how they were being enforced.
The people who met with Coombs ultimately got some leeway when it came to the rules, which Coombs noted only came into effect in 2010. For animal farmers who have been in operation prior to the regulations being implemented, much like the farmers Coombs spoke of, a general application had been put in on their behalf, to see the farmers are permitted to maintain their animals without issue.
“They are not the issue that we’ve dealt with,” Coombs said. “They are not a part of that issue at all. They sell animals, they contribute to the town, and I think the issue simply got out of hand. I’ll be asking that Housing and Zoning take a look at that application. These farmers can’t be signing off on applications every time a calf is born or an animal is sold – that’s fair, and was never meant to discriminate against these people. Council was trying to find out who had animals in this town that haven’t been properly delivered on, and for those with animals to let us know, so we can try to regulate that.”
Coun. Kathy Tetford, who made the original motion back in May to see the regulations enforced, also spoke up on the matter, noting she felt as though council was simply doing the right thing by taking these regulations seriously, and never meant to point any fingers.
“If there are people being skipped with the letters who have animals, well, that should never happen, but I’m sure, as in all human nature, sometimes that stuff happens, but I also don’t think this should all be thrown out because people were missed. We’ll just need to do a better job in the future,” she said.
“I just wanted to state that it had nothing to do with targeting anyone. There are legitimate farmers that have been in this town for a number of years. It simply had to do with us following our regulations. It was nothing personal.”
Coun. Kathy Tetford.