Calgary recognizes pigeons as pets, licenses now available

Calgarians can now apply for a license which will allow them to keep pigeons as pets.

The move comes after Calgary council members updated the city’s responsible pet ownership bylaw last year.

The changes, which allow things like urban chicken ownership and backyard beekeeping, came into effect on January 1.

Unlike urban chicken and bee keeping, there is no formal training program available for pigeon care.

Instead, applicants must provide proof of membership in the Canadian Pigeon Fancier‘s Association Inc./Association canadienne du Pigeon de Fantasie Inc. or the Canadian Racing Pigeon Union.

“The required membership in the pigeon association allows fanciers to connect to the wider pigeon community, where they receive the necessary information on care and access to mentorship,” explained Jennifer Lawlor, spokesperson for Calgary Community Standards, in a press release.


In addition to belonging to a pigeon association, candidates must also meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 18 years old or have a parent or guardian applying on their behalf;
  • Acquire a pre-application inquiry file number issued by Planning and Development (if they acquired pigeons after January 1);
  • Submit a site plan and details of the accommodation needed for the pigeons or proof that they have kept pigeons before 1 January; and
  • Provide proof of ownership of the property or owner’s consent.


In a Thursday statement, the City of Calgary notes that by requiring applicants to be members of one of two pigeon associations, they are ensuring that they will receive education on the health and welfare of pigeons, including precautions to take in relation to recent avian flu concerns.

More information about the Urban Breeding Program and Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw can be found on the City of Calgary website. website.

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