New adopted animal regulations for Baltimore City!

Baltimore City Health Department’s Animal Control Program has released the final version of their updated 2013 animal regulations. See the the final regulations here: AC Reg – Wild Exotic Hybrid Animals – September 26, 2013.

A few highlights from the updated regulations, as they apply to animals commonly kept for urban agriculture/gardening purposes:

Honey bees:
– The new regulations remove the exotic animal permit fee for beekeepers, stating that: “recognizing the unique role honey bees play in contributing to public welfare as pollinators sustaining a diverse variety of food crops, the need to increase honey bee populations generally, as well as the need to protect honeybees from disease, beekeepers shall not be required to pay a permit application fee. Beekeepers are nonetheless required to obtain a permit.”
– Beekeepers are no longer required to submit a photo and proof of vaccinations of their “animal” during the permit application process.

Chickens:
Urban farms and gardens can keep more than ten chickens if they have sufficient space (4 chickens + 1 additional chicken per 1,000 square feet of lot area over 2,000 square feet), IF:
(1) The Commissioner approves the application (approval is at the sole discretion of the Commissioner), and
(2) The garden/farm includes a written management plan that discusses: (a) how chickens will be housed (b) how waste will be managed (c) how chickens and feed will be protected from predators and other pests, and (d) how impacts to surrounding property owners will be avoided.

Goats: regulations stayed the same.

Rabbits:
Number: The 2012 regulations allowed 4 rabbits per lot of 2,000 square feet or less. The updated 2013 regulations allow 1 breeding pair of rabbits, and no more than 12 total rabbits per lot of 1,000 square feet or less. On lots greater than 1,000 square feet, residents may keep 2 breeding pairs of rabbits and no more than 24 total rabbits.
Pen size: the minimum rabbit pen size has increased from 2 to 3 square feet per rabbit.

Other changes:
Removed posting requirement: The Animal Control Program has removed the provision from the 2012 regulations requiring that any keeper of goats/chickens/bees/rabbits must post a 4′ by 3′ sign on his/her residence for 10 days announcing that he has applied for the animal permit.
Slaughter: An additional provision stating clearly that “[t]he slaughtering of animals for food, fur or other products is prohibited in Baltimore City.”
Contiguous lots: In cases where contiguous lots are being used for the same farm or garden, they’ll be considered a single lot for the purposes of the animal regulations.

Thoughts?

10/22/13 Update: Here’s a link to download Baltimore City’s brand new permit application for Allowed Wild, Exotic, and Hybrid Animals, for those of you who are interested: PERMIT APPLICATION – WILD EXOTIC HOST SITE REGISTRATION

Posted on by Becky Witt

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