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Pigs, chickens and miniature horses allowed as comfort animals in Calgary

CALGARY — Henrietta the hen and Porky the pig could soon be taking on new roles outside the farmyard in Calgary.

Calgary city council has approved a bylaw amendment to issue permits for the use of livestock as emotional support animals.

While dogs and cats are the most commonly owned emotional support animals, the amendment to the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw opens the door for chickens, miniature horses and pigs.

The city didn’t consider including wildlife and exotic animals because they are regulated by provincial and federal legislation.

There are conditions — a mental health professional will have to determine the animal is therapeutic for a patient.

Permit holders will have to provide a letter from a health care professional and ensure they can meet guidelines for the care and maintenance of the animal.

Jennifer Lawlor, business strategist for Calgary Community Standards, said the changes are an opportunity to support mental health.

“These bylaw amendments were developed to balance the rights of people in need of emotional support animals with those of other Calgarians,” she said Monday.

“We consulted with Alberta Health Services, the Calgary Humane Society, Alberta Farm Animal Care and several mental health organizations to develop the bylaw amendment, policy and processes.”