Pigeons in residential areas

Overview

Domestic pigeons are a species of pigeon that live in close proximity to humans and are commonly found in urban areas. Racing, or homing pigeons, are a type of domestic pigeon bred specifically as pets. In the past, pigeons were typically used to deliver mail and currently many are bred to be used in racing competitions.

Section 5.24 of the Town’s Zoning By-law 500 restricts the keeping or raising of pigeons in settlement areas, except a few areas that have a Rural (RU) zoning and where lot sizes permit. Pigeons are not a prohibited animal within the Town of Georgina Animal Control By-law 2003-0072 and there are no effective restrictions on the keeping of pigeons on rural-zoned properties, with a restriction of a maximum of three birds on all other zoned properties. The effect of By-law 2003-0072 is to prohibit the keeping of more than three pigeons on most properties within settlement areas in Georgina (i.e. Keswick, Sutton Jackson's Point, Virginia and Pefferlaw).

A survey of the practices of other municipalities was done to better understand the manner in which pigeons have been addressed. Eighteen municipalities were reviewed, with an emphasis placed on those within York Region specifically and southern Ontario more generally. Municipalities reviewed include all of those in York Region, as well as London, Kingston, Brampton, Caledon, Milton, Cambridge, Toronto, Oshawa and Innisfil. Approximately half of these municipalities allow pigeons in residential areas.

Animal Licensing By-law 2003-0073 regulates animals at large within the Town. Currently the Town prohibits animals, other than cats and dogs, from being at large. This by-law would have to be modified to permit pigeon racing, which involves releasing pigeons from their lofts.

Photo

A black and white racing pigeon

Public engagement

Town of Georgina contact

Brittany Dobrindt, Planner I
bdobrindt@georgina.ca
905-476-4301, ext. 2442

Share your thoughts

Survey

There was an online survey that was available until May 25, 2023

Public engagement session

An in-person public open house occurred on May 9, 2023.

Timelines

Timelines

  • During the Feb. 15 Council meeting, Council approved a recommendation to amend Animal Control By-law 2003-0072 and Animals at Large By-law 2003-0073 to allow for the raising of pigeons in residential areas in Pefferlaw and the hamlet areas subject to a number of criteria and regulations as set out in the report. Staff will report back on a process to consider site-specific requests for by-law amendments to allow for pigeon keeping in other areas of the Town, namely Keswick, the serviced lakeshore areas and Sutton/Jackson’s Point.
  • A Staff Report with the results of the public outreach was brought before council on July 12, 2023
  • An in-person public open house occurred on May 9, 2023
  • A public survey was available until May 25, 2023
  • During the Feb. 15 Council meeting, Council approved a recommendation to conduct public outreach regarding pigeons in residential areas
  • A staff report regarding pigeons in residential areas was brought before council on Feb. 15, 2023
  • A deputation was made to Council regarding pigeons in residential areas in September 2022

Important links

Important links

Documents

Frequently asked questions

How does the Town control pigeon movements?

The Town cannot control pigeon movements. However, the matter is currently under review and various options are being examined. This includes the possibility that if domestic pigeons were to be allowed in residential areas, the Town could impose certain provisions, such as registering the birds with owner identifying leg bands, which would allow lost birds to be returned with their owners.

Have pigeons not been allowed before now?

Currently, Section 5.24 of the Town’s Zoning By-law 500 restricts the keeping or raising of pigeons in settlement areas, except for a few areas that have a Rural (RU) zoning and where lot sizes permit. Pigeons are not a prohibited animal within the Town of Georgina Animal Control By-law 2003-0072 and there are no effective restrictions on the keeping of pigeons on rural-zoned properties, with a restriction of a maximum of three birds on all other zoned properties. The effect of By-law 2003-0072 is to prohibit the keeping of more than three pigeons on most properties within settlement areas in Georgina (i.e. Keswick, Sutton Jackson's Point, Virginia and Pefferlaw).

Will pigeon owners be liable for cleaning up after their birds?

The matter of permitting pigeons in residential areas is currently under review and various options are being examined. This includes the possibility that if domestic pigeons were to be allowed in residential areas, the Town could impose certain provisions, such as cleanliness standards, which would ensure that their lofts are kept hygienic.

Do I have to get rid of pigeons if I own them currently?

If pigeons are not currently allowed on a specific property, then you will not be able to keep them.

Section 5.24 of the Town’s Zoning By-law 500 restricts the keeping or raising of pigeons in settlement areas, except a few areas that have a Rural (RU) zoning and where lot sizes permit.

Contact Us

26557 Civic Centre Rd,
Keswick, ON  L4P 3G1

T: 905-476-4301 / 705-437-2210
F: 905-476-8100
info@georgina.ca

Hours of Operation

Monday to Friday
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.