Feathers fly over rooster exclusion

Rooster noise spurs bylaw change in North Saanich

When is a rooster not a rooster? That depends on who you ask and North Saanich council is asking its municipal staff to better explain why they want to exclude them for the district’s show and ornamental bird definitions.

District staff presented an animal control bylaw amendment Monday night that would have removed roosters from a list of ornamental or show birds that residents are allowed to keep in their homes in suburban areas. The intent, said Director of Planning Mark Brodrick, is to allow the ticketing of owners who keep roosters in inappropriate areas.

Brodrick noted in a report that a Capital Regional District bylaw enforcement officer had ticketed a Dean Park resident who owned a rooster. That resident challenged the ticket in court, stating the bird was a show or ornamental bird and was thus allowed to keep it.

“The intent is to be able to address noise complaints related to (the) rooster,” he said.

Brodrick and CAO Rob Buchan then had to explain to Councillor Dunstan Browne several times that the amendment was to exclude roosters only, and not other birds such as canaries or budgies. Browne had thought all of the birds on a sample list were to be excluded. When it was cleared up, Browne, who is a bird owner, president of the Avicultural Advancement Council of Canada and vice-president and director of the Avian Preservation Foundation, was still opposed to such measures.

“Put the issue into the noise bylaw, then,” he said, “and not the animal control bylaw.”

Council then tried to define the word rooster — whether it meant the male form of all birds or the male of the chicken species only. To that end, they sent back the bylaw amendment for clarification.