Calgarians can officially apply to keep pets of many different varieties at their homes.
The City of Calgary just announced in a release that applications for keeping livestock as emotional support animals are now being taken, meaning that anyone living with a livestock emotional support animal (LESAs) can now apply to do so legally.
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The city made the decision last October to amend a Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw, and now the program has officially launched.
The permit does have a few stipulations, however, including that the owner have a letter from a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist stating that the animal is part of a treatment program for mental health, the contact information of a veterinarian with experience working with that particular type of animal, and an alternative home in place outside of the city if the event that the license is revoked.
All LESA owners will also be expected to have the proper amount of yard space necessary for the animal in their care.
“In October of last year, the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw was amended to allow Calgarians to keep livestock emotional support animals,” said Aalika Kohli, Business and Policy Analyst with Calgary Community Standards, in the release.
“With this new permitting process, we are pleased to be able to meet the needs of Calgarians while ensuring animal welfare remains a top priority.”
The topic was brought before council after someone complained to the city last December that a person was keeping chickens in their house.
The city administration was then asked to work with Alberta Health Services to determine the parameters of allowing livestock in the city for mental health reasons, and the Livestock as Emotional Support Animals (LESAs) program was developed.
With the exception of the Town of Strathmore, which has a bylaw amendment allowing for emotional support Vietnamese pigs, no other municipality in the country has allowed for otherwise prohibited animals to reside with owners for emotional support.
Those hoping to apply to the program can do so by heading to the City of Calgary’s website and visiting their livestock emotional support animals page.