Home » Prohibited Animal Bylaw

Prohibited Animal Bylaw

Athabasca County is in the approval stages of introducing a bylaw that will help prevent problems with animals

The bylaw is designed to include any future animals of concern but for now only has Wild Boar listed as being prohibited. Wild boars have caused safety concerns to humans, pets and vehicle traffic. They also damage crops and feed for agricultural producers. As a result, many municipalities have enacted similar bylaws to deal with them.

This new bylaw is a proactive step to prevent a wild boar problem in Athabasca County. The Government of Alberta has had Wild Boars listed as a pest since 2008 and the Agricultural Services Board felt it was time to recommend a bylaw be put in place.

While there are no wild boar farms currently registered with the Government of Alberta in our municipality, there may be domestic pigs that have been bred with Wild Boar. Both wild boars and those bred with domestic pigs are considered pests according to The Pest Act. Athabasca County wants to work with any producers to help understand the reasoning for the bylaw and help phase these animals out of production.

Athabasca County is working toward an outcome that protects the environment, agricultural producers, wildlife and natural areas against the negative effects of feral Wild Boars.

View Bylaw

At what stage is the bylaw right now?

Second reading of the Prohibited Animal Bylaw is scheduled to take place at the Regular Meeting of Council on July 20, 2017. It will allow for further discussion of the Bylaw by Council and provide additional time to receive input by members of the public before adopting the draft bylaw. If Council decides, third reading could be held the same day.

An awareness campaign was launched in 2016 to make residents and producers alike aware of this ongoing work. Ads appeared in the local newspaper at the end of December 2016 to spark discussion and input.

Council is looking to hear from individuals who may be affected by the implementation of the bylaw. If you are affected you can contact our office and ask to speak with our Agricultural Services Department. Alternatively, you can send us an email explaining your concerns.

61492990 - two young wild boars walking and sniffing in forest. animals in natural habitat

Background Information on Wild Boars

Wild Boar first arrived in Canada in the late 1970s for farming purposes. Some of the pigs escaped from farms, while others were released by farmers to create hunting opportunities. More were brought to Alberta in the late 1990’s for breeding and game farming.

The Province of Alberta declared Wild Boar a pest in 2008. The Athabasca area may have a few domestic pigs that have been bred with Wild Boar for production reasons and personal use; however, these animals are still considered Wild Boar under The Agricultural Pests Act. Any such animal must be registered with the Alberta Pork Producers. To date, there are no registered Wild Boar within Athabasca County.

Guidelines surrounding the production of Wild Boars

Minimum Containment standards for Wild Boar have been set by the Provincial Government and inspection of such fencing is a requirement. All fencing of Wild Boar must meet Containment Standards by December 31, 2018. For more information please contact the Agricultural Service Department at Athabasca County or read about the Government of Alberta’s Pest and Nuisance Control Regulations online.

Why are they considered a pest?

They tend to root around in agricultural fields, damaging crops including wheat, corn and oats; they can also get into stored agricultural feeds. The boars urinate and defecate on grazing areas and discourage cattle from returning. They eat songbird and duck eggs and destroy sensitive areas; they’ve been called an ecological train wreck.

Athabasca County’s picturesque landscape with its willow, muskeg, creeks, rivers and abundance of brush is a perfect environment for Wild Boar to survive in, and with no major predator to scare them away, they can become bullies when confronting other animals, often scaring off livestock and helping themselves to their feed.

A wild boar in autumn forest

Safety around Wild Boars

Escaped Wild Boars are likely to join wildlife that inhabit parts of Alberta, and wildlife officials are warning residents to be careful around these large pigs. The tusked animals survive well in the wild and if hunted, retreat further into the back country. They can also be nocturnal so they may be on the move at night.

They can be dangerous if they’re cornered or provoked. Typically, if they have a choice to run, they would probably run first. But if they’re cornered or someone stumbles across them, they can be somewhat aggressive. The animals, which can weigh up to 120 kilograms, have heads that take up nearly one-third of their body’s length. The boars have powerful neck muscles, and their noses are equipped with a plate that makes them ideal for digging. Wild Boar can carry a list of diseases that can be transferred to humans, including the deadly E. coli.

Control efforts being considered for Athabasca County

Because the animals can produce litters of six to 10 piglets twice a year, it is extremely difficult to eradicate their populations from any one area once they have been introduced to the wild.

For this reason Athabasca County Agricultural Services Department is asking that Wild Boar or pigs with any genetic background descending from Wild Boar be phased-out. This means that reproduction of the animals be halted and that the animals that exist be either used for personal use once mature, or sold as meat as soon as that opportunity exists.

Athabasca County will work with area producers to eliminate wild boar within a reasonable time frame while minimizing financial and environmental impacts.

How was the bylaw initiated?

The Athabasca County Agriculture Service Board proposed a bylaw be created regarding the raising or keeping of Wild Boar within Athabasca County. It was seen as a proactive step in protecting the environment, agricultural industry, ratepayers and communities within Athabasca County.

Contact Information

Athabasca County Agricultural Services Department

780-675-2273 | 1-844-662-2273 | info@athabascacounty.com