Backyard livestock not a nuisance, Spokane City Council president says


Allowing Spokane city residents to raise small livestock in their backyards is not going to become a nuisance problem, Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart said Wednesday.

Stuckart said that concerns about an increasing number of animal complaints from keeping small farm animals will turn out to be unfounded.

The City Council adopted an ordinance Monday to allow residents to keep small livestock within the city limits.

By Tuesday, Spokane County commissioners began raising concerns about noise, odor and animal welfare complaints, along with enforcement costs.

At the start of 2014, the county took over responsibility for animal control inside Spokane city limits through Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service.

Stuckart said Wednesday that the city will pay for any incidental costs associated with SCRAPS enforcement for the new urban farming ordinance adopted by Spokane City Council on Monday.

But noise and smell complaints can be handled by the city’s zoning code enforcement officers.

That law would allow keeping of small livestock such as fowl, pigs, sheep and goats in residential areas of the city.

Stuckart said that those kinds of animals will cause fewer problems than barking dogs and the smell of accumulated dog waste.

“Dogs are the noisiest animals,” Stuckart said. Concern about complaints from small livestock keeping “is not even an issue,” he said.

Stuckart said his research showed no large number of complaints in cities where small-livestock-keeping is allowed.

Residents who want to raise small livestock will need an animal-keeping certificate through Washington State University’s county extension program. Raising chickens would not require a certificate, but roosters are banned.

Stuckart said the city is willing to pay SCRAPS $6,000 so they can create pens for pigs or other animals that might be seized through complaints.

He said the city will budget any incidental increase in costs to SCRAPS because of the law.

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