Riverside seeks to rewrite rules on chickens, bees and other urban animals – press enterprise

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Officially, the breeding of chickens, bees and carrier pigeons has been relegated to the large lots and rural areas of Riverside.

But as interest in locally sourced foods and urban agriculture continues to grow, city leaders are debating whether to allow bees and chickens more widely – and pigeons could come with it. we.

Town planners are working on an overhaul of animal rules in the zoning code that would eliminate discrepancies or omissions regarding rabbits, pigeons, kennels and catteries, and could make the keeping of bees and chickens legal in much more of the city.

A meeting of the planning committee on March 9 on the subject was the first step. The issue goes next to a board committee in May, and ultimately to the whole board for a vote.

Cities across the country and locally, including Corona and Murrieta, allow backyard chickens within certain limits.

Riverside City Councilor Mike Gardner, whose Ward 1 includes downtown and Wood Streets, insisted on reviewing the chicken policy after hearing from a resident who was unaware that the family’s pet chickens were illegal until code enforcement showed up at their homes last year.

RELATED: How Murrieta Treated Backyard Chickens

“I’ve heard more from people who are pro-chicken than anti,” Gardner said, noting that roosters – already limited due to noise issues – would not be part of any expanded chicken farm rights.

A debate will certainly follow. At the planning committee, resident Marlene Mossestad voiced her objections to urban chickens.

“I don’t want to hear them, I don’t want to smell their droppings and I don’t want to drive away flies,” she said. “Allowing the chickens will only benefit those who want the chickens.”

The proposed revisions should also remove conflicting rules about where people can keep racing pigeons and rabbits, and explain the requirements for having more cats or dogs than current caps allow.

To keep more than four dogs or nine cats, the city requires a permit for a “residential kennel” or “cattery,” but the rules don’t explain what that is.

Some residents are urging the city to draft an exception to the rules for people who take in pets in need of a home.

Leslie Holzrichter heads the Riverside-based nonprofit Foster Army Animal Rescue. He finds temporary locations for animals she says are “most at risk of being euthanized” at the county shelter, such as those with burns or amputations who face a long recovery before they can. be adopted.

Some volunteers welcome entire litters of kittens or puppies, and many already have their own pets, Holzrichter said, so they could run into city limits if there are no exceptions for families. short-term reception.

Finally, the changes suggested by municipal staff would prohibit the sale of pets, except those that come from a shelter, a humanitarian society or a licensed breeder. Gardner said the goal is to discourage “puppy mills,” which produce dogs for sale without regard to the health and well-being of breeding mothers or their litters.

In Riverside County, a special license is not required to breed dogs, but it is required to sell them, Gardner said. A commercial breeder would likely also need a residential kennel license.


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