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A. Livestock Prohibited In City Limits: It shall be unlawful for an owner to keep ducks, geese, turkeys or other domestic fowl, except as permitted in this Chapter, cattle, horses, pigs, sheep, goats, or other domestic livestock within the limits of the city, except that licensed veterinarians may keep such animals for the purposes of care and treatment necessary in the practice of their profession and except for temporary presence in connection with livestock or wildlife shows, exhibitions, zoos, circuses or auctions within the city. Any animals present in such a temporary livestock or wildlife event shall be caged, tethered or otherwise safely restrained to protect the public.
B. Keeping of Chickens: It is unlawful for any person to own, control, keep, maintain, or harbor chickens on any premises within the city unless that person has a permit to do so as provided in this chapter. A permit will not be issued for the keeping or harboring of more the six (6) chickens on any premises. The keeping or harboring of male chickens or roosters is prohibited.
1. Permit: A person shall not maintain a coop or run unless granted a permit by the city. The permit is subject to all terms and conditions of this chapter and any additional conditions deemed necessary by the city to protect public health, safety, and welfare.
a. Annual Permit: Permits will not exceed one (1) year and are subject to annual renewal. The initial permit automatically expires at the end of the initial calendar year and, thereafter, renewals of said permit extend for calendar-year periods. The annual permit fee is set by resolution of the City Council, as amended from time to time.
b. Permit Requirements: An application for a permit includes a complete application with a scaled diagram that indicates the location of the coop and run, approximate size and distance of the coop and run from adjoining structures and property lines, the number and species of chickens to be maintained at the premises, and a signed statement that the applicant will, at all times, keep the chickens in accordance with this chapter and comply with all the conditions within the application and permit. Failure to comply with said conditions, or modification thereof, will constitute a violation of the provisions of this chapter and are grounds for revocation or suspension of the permit. Chickens may be slaughtered on the premises, out of view of the general public and only if for consumption by the occupants of the premises.
c. A property with three (3) or more residential dwelling units, commercial, mixed use, and industrial properties is prohibited from keeping chickens.
2. Confinement: A person who owns, controls, keeps, maintains, or harbors chickens must keep them confined at all times in a coop and run and may not allow the chickens to run at large. Chickens must be secured in a chicken coop from sunset to sunrise each day.
a. The following conditions apply to both coops and runs:
(1) Must not be located within the front yard;
(2) Must be setback a minimum of three (3) feet from any adjacent structures;
(3) Must be setback a minimum of ten (10) feet from all property lines;
(4) Must not be located on any public easements;
(5) Must be a minimum of four (4) square feet per chicken and may not exceed ten (10) square feet per chicken;
(6) Fencing for coops and runs may not exceed six (6) feet in total height from adjacent ground level;
(7) Must not be located in any part of a dwelling unit or garage;
(8) Feed must be kept within a coop, run, shed or garage and must be kept in animal proof containers; and
(9) Manure must be removed frequently, and use of quality bedding material is recommended. Manure which is not properly disposed of and/or causes odor issues will result in revocation of the permit.
(10) To provide a buffer from adjacent properties, Coops and runs shall be enclosed by a solid opaque fence or wall measuring a minimum of five feet (5') in height and not more than four inches (4") from the ground or other surface. A solid opaque fence or wall around the rear yard that meet these measurements, shall also be sufficient to meet this requirement.
b. The following conditions apply to coops:
(1) Must be either elevated with a clear open space of at least sixteen (16) inches between the ground surface and grading/floor of the coop or;
(2) Must not exceed seven (7) feet in total height from adjacent ground level;
(3) May be a commercially purchased chicken coop that substantially conforms with the requirements of this ordinance. Substantially conforms means that it may not differ more or less than twenty percent (20%) of the noted chicken coop standards.
(4) The coop floor, foundation and footings must be constructed using rodent resistant construction.
c. The following apply to runs:
(1) Must not exceed ten (10) square feet per chicken;
(2) Fencing must not exceed six (6) feet in total height from adjacent ground level; and
(3) May be enclosed with wood, woven wire materials, or a combination thereof.
3. Conditions and Inspections: A person who owns, controls, keeps, maintains, or harbors chickens must not permit the premises where the chickens are kept to be maintained in an unhealthy, unsanitary, or noxious condition or to permit the premises to be in such condition that noxious odors are carried to adjacent properties. Any coop or run authorized by permit under this chapter may be inspected at any reasonable time by the animal control officer, law enforcement officer, public health official, or other employee or agent of the city.
4. Private Restrictions/Covenants: A permit issued to a person whose premises is subject to private restrictions and/or covenants that prohibit the keeping of chickens is the sole responsibility of the person applying for the permit. The interpretation and enforcement of the private restrictions and/or covenants is the sole responsibility of the private parties involved, the city is in no way responsible for interpreting or enforcing private restrictions and/or covenants.
5. Refusal to Grant Permit: The city may refuse to grant or renew a permit to keep or maintain chickens for failure to comply with the provisions of this chapter, submitting an inaccurate or incomplete application, failure to comply with permit conditions, creation of a nuisance condition, or if the public health and safety is unreasonably endangered by the granting or renewing of such permit. Any coop or run constructed or maintained on any premises must be removed from said premises within thirty (30) days after the suspension, expiration, or revocation of the permit for said premises or after a period of thirty (30) days from which chickens have not been lawfully kept on the premises.
6. Suspension and Appeal: A permit for keeping of chickens may be revoked or suspended by the city for any violation of this chapter following written notice or, upon request for renewal, the renewal permit may be refused by the city. The applicant may appeal the revocation, suspension, or refusal to renew the permit to the city clerk by requesting a hearing before the City Council within seven (7) days of the date of the notice. The City Council shall hear testimony from the permittee and city staff and render a decision on the matter or request additional information.
8. A person who had a permit to harbor chickens and who no longer harbors chickens must remove any related structures (coop, run, or other) within ten (10) days of no longer harboring chickens.
C. Pigeons: It shall be unlawful for an owner to keep pigeons within the limits of the city except fancy or homing pigeons as hereinafter defined may be kept in accordance with the following regulations:
Any pen or run enclosed by wire immediately adjacent to a loft into which fancy or homing pigeons can only enter directly from the loft.
A pigeon which through selective past breeding has developed certain distinctive physical and/or performing characteristics as to be clearly identified as such, including, by way of example, but not limitation, rollers, frillbacks, and fantails.
A pigeon which through selective past breeding has developed the distinctive physical and/or mental characteristics to enable the pigeon to return to its home after having been released a considerable distance therefrom, including, by way of example but not limitation, carrier and racing pigeons.
Any building, structure, or coop in which fancy or homing pigeons are housed or kept which meets the requirements of subsection B5 of this section.
Allowing fancy or homing pigeons in accordance with subsection B4 of this section to exercise outside of a loft and/or aviary with the owner of the pigeons present on the property where the loft and/or aviary is situated to ensure that the pigeons do not roost on the property of other persons nor otherwise interfere with the enjoyment of other persons’ property.
2. Confinement Of Pigeons: The keeping of fancy or homing pigeons within the limits of the city shall only be allowed if such pigeons are kept confined in an aviary and/or loft, which shall be subject to inspection by the city for compliance with requirements set forth in subsection B5 of this section, and, if such pigeons are only allowed outside for the purposes set forth in subsection B3 of this section.
3. Outside Flight Allowed: Fancy or homing pigeons may be permitted to fly outside the loft or aviary for the purpose of supervised exercise to achieve and maintain the muscular condition necessary for shows or races in which the pigeons participate with homing pigeons further being allowed to fly outside the loft or aviary when returning to the loft from a supervised race or training flight.
4. Outside Flight Regulations: No one may fly fancy or homing pigeons within the limits of the city except in accordance with the following regulations:
a. Fancy or homing pigeons shall not be released or exercised on any day in which prior to release or exercise the pigeons have been fed.
b. No more than twenty (20) fancy or homing pigeons shall be flown in any one day by any owner except that young pigeons in numbers greater than twenty (20) may be flown providing they do not fly outside the boundaries of the owner’s yard.
c. No fancy or homing pigeons shall be permitted by their owner to land, set, light, or gather on the property of another, be it public or private property.
d. All fancy or homing pigeons flown shall be banded with a brightly colored plastic or metal band with all pigeons flown together having the same color band.
e. The owner of any fancy or homing pigeons flown shall be responsible for maintaining a log book which shall be available and open for inspection by the city on the pigeons flown containing the following information:
Pigeon band number
Pigeon plastic band color
Date and time out or released
Date and time birds returned
Type of domestic pigeon
5. Loft Requirements: No loft shall be allowed to be used to house or keep fancy or homing pigeons which does not meet the following requirements:
a. The complete exterior of the loft shall be painted and have a clean appearance. The exterior of the loft shall be disinfected at least two (2) times each year.
b. The exterior grounds surrounding the loft shall be maintained and have a clean appearance, free of papers, droppings, feathers, straw, boxes, and other nonusable materials.
c. The interior of the loft shall be maintained in a clean, sanitary, and wholesome manner at all times free from any filth, garbage, waste, nonusable articles, and/or other debris and shall be subject to periodic inspection by authorized city personnel.
d. A metal container with a metal cover shall be provided for each loft for the disposal of the above referenced garbage, waste, nonusable articles or other debris with the container to be regularly emptied and cleaned.
e. Any pigeon with a noncurable health condition shall be removed as soon as possible from the loft within a limited amount of time for study and research and/or treatment of pigeon’s condition.
f. Training baskets, breeding cages, medical treatment cages, and any like or similar cage or enclosure within the loft shall be cleaned no less than three (3) times a year with an acceptable chemical spray or compound to maintain such baskets, cages, or enclosure in a safe and sanitary condition.
g. No loft for housing or keeping fancy or homing pigeons shall be maintained or operated or be permitted to exist within a distance of twenty five feet (25') from any building or structure or any accessory building or accessory structure thereto used for residential, commercial, or public purposes.
h. No loft shall be located in any structure not constructed in accordance with the zoning and building codes of the city.
i. No loft shall be kept in a condition contrary to the health or nuisance codes of the city.
D. Keeping Of Wild Or Exotic Animals Prohibited:
1. Definitions: For the purposes of this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them:
Shall include any live vertebrate creature, domestic or wild, not to include birds.
Any animal kept for pleasure rather than utility.
WILD OR EXOTIC ANIMAL:
Any live monkey (nonhuman primate), raccoon, skunk, wolf, squirrel, fox, leopard, panther, tiger, lion, lynx or any other warm blooded animal, poisonous snake or tarantula which can normally be found in the wild state or any other member of crocodilian, including, but not limited to, alligators, crocodiles, caimans, and gavials, and including such other animal that cannot be effectively inoculated for rabies. Ferrets, nonpoisonous snakes, rabbits, and laboratory rats which have been bred in captivity and which have never known the wild shall be excluded from this definition.
2. Display Or Exhibition: It shall be unlawful to keep within the city of Moorhead any wild or exotic animal for display or for exhibition purposes, whether gratuitously or for a fee. This section shall not be construed to apply to zoological parks, performing animal exhibitions, circuses, schools or colleges, or veterinary clinics, which are properly licensed by the federal government or state.
3. Keeping As A Pet: No person shall keep or permit to be kept any wild or exotic animal as a pet.
4. Notice Required At A Place Of Sale: Any person who offers for sale a “wild or exotic animal” as defined by subsection C1 of this section shall post conspicuously at the place of sale or display the following notice:
No person may lawfully keep or permit to be kept in the City of Moorhead any live monkey (nonhuman primate), raccoon, skunk, wolf, squirrel, fox, leopard, panther, tiger, lion, lynx or any other warm-blooded animal, poisonous snake or tarantula, crocodile or alligator, which can normally be found in the wild state or any other member of the crocodilian, including, but not limited to, alligators, crocodiles, caimans and gavials and including such other animal that cannot be effectively inoculated for rabies.
5. Notice Of Keeping: Upon the written complaint of any person that a person owns or is keeping or harboring a wild or exotic animal in violation of this section in the city, the police department or their authorized designee shall forthwith cause the matter to be investigated; and if after investigation the facts indicate that such person named in the complaint is in fact the owner or is keeping or harboring any such animal in the city, they shall forthwith send written notice to the person requiring such person to safely remove the animal from the city within five (5) days of the date of the notice. Notice as herein provided shall not be required where such animal has previously caused serious physical harm or death to any person or has escaped and is at large, in which case the police department shall cause the animal to be immediately seized and impounded, according to the provisions of subsection C6 of this section, or killed if seizure and impoundment are not possible without risk or serious physical harm or death to any person.
6. Seizure And Impounding: The police department or their authorized designee shall forthwith cause to be seized and impounded any wild or exotic animal, where the person owning, keeping or harboring such animal has failed to comply with the notice sent pursuant to subsection C5 of this section. Upon a seizure and impoundment, the animal shall be delivered to a place of confinement, which may be with any organization which is authorized by law to accept, own, keep or harbor such animals.
If, during the course of seizing and impounding any such animal, the animal poses a risk of serious physical harm or death to any person, such person or persons authorized by the police department may render the animal immobile by means of tranquilizers or other safe drugs; or if that is not safely possible, then the animal may be killed.
7. Enforcement: The provisions of this subsection C shall be enforced by the police department or the Minnesota department of natural resources, the animal damage control department of the United States department of agriculture, or any other person duly designated by the Moorhead chief of police.
8. Delayed Enforcement: Any person who has a wild or exotic animal in possession at the time of the effective date of this subsection C in contravention of this section, shall have thirty (30) days to dispose of the animal(s) by removal of the animal(s) from the city or by giving or selling the animal(s) to a zoological park or other entity exempt from this subsection C.
E. Prescribed Grazing and Keeping of Sheep: It is unlawful for any person to own, control, keep, maintain, or harbor sheep on any premise within the city unless that person has a permit to do so as provided in this chapter. A permit may be issued for the keeping or harboring of up to forty (40) sheep on any premise.
1. This chapter is a temporary pilot program and is primarily intended for the Harvest Hope Farm and shall take effect upon final passage and publication as required by law and expire on (December 31, 2026) unless otherwise approved by the Moorhead City Council. A maximum of ten (10) pilot permits will be approved for the pilot program. Property owners or organizations wishing to join the pilot program may do so by submitting a completed permit application.
2. Permit: A person shall not maintain a sheep grazing area unless granted a prescribed grazing permit by the city. The permit is subject to all terms and conditions of this chapter and any additional conditions deemed necessary by the city to protect public health, safety, and welfare.
a. Temporary Permit: For the purpose of the pilot program, the initial permit will automatically expire on (December 31, 2026) unless the permit is revoked for not meeting permit or ordinance provisions. If the pilot program is extended or made permanent, permits will be reviewed and issued subject to conditions approved at that time.
b. Permit requirements: An application for a permit includes a complete application with a scaled diagram that indicates the location, address, and approximate size of the prescribed grazing area and proper enclosures - including paddocks, proposed grazing rotation schedule (if applicable), approximate size and distance of any structures or shelters to be used during the approved permit period, adjoining structures and property lines, the number of sheep to be maintained at the premises, waste/manure removal plan, full name, address, and 24-hour contact telephone number of the person who owns the sheep to be used for prescribed grazing, the length of time requested, type(s) of fencing to be installed for the required enclosure, date the temporary fence will be installed, and a signed statement that the applicant will, at all times, keep the sheep in accordance with this chapter and comply with all the conditions within the application and permit.
Failure to comply with said conditions, or modification thereof, will constitute a violation of the provisions of this chapter and are grounds for revocation of the permit by the City with thirty (30) days written notice to the Permittee. Breeding and slaughtering of sheep on any premises within the city is prohibited.
c. The keeping of sheep shall only occur on parcels, or a combination of contiguous parcels of one (1) acre or more.
3. Conditions of permit: A permit granted under this section shall be subject to the following conditions:
a. Duration of Pilot Program: The permit for the pilot program will automatically expire (December 31, 2026) unless the permit is revoked or the permit is extended by the City Council.
b. Duration of Grazing: Prescribed grazing on any property or parcel less than two (2) acres in size shall be limited to a maximum of 30 consecutive days with a minimum of thirty (30) consecutive days between the next grazing event. Any property or parcel greater than two (2) acres may extend the duration of grazing beyond the thirty (30) day period with approval of the Zoning Administrator and an approved grazing rotation schedule.
c. Number of Sheep Allowed: One (1) sheep per two thousand five hundred (2,500) square feet of grazable land up to a maximum of forty (40) sheep.
d. Type of Fencing: A fence system shall be implemented where the fence shall be constructed of durable materials capable of holding sheep which may include electrified fencing. For the purpose of this pilot program, electrified fences shall be permitted within zoning districts with a prescribed grazing permit. Fencing shall follow all requirements specified in section 10-19-5. Fencing must be maintained in good condition and not result in hazardous conditions to the public. Fencing shall be setback a minimum of fifty feet (50') from centerline of a roadway and fifty feet (50') from a property line with a housing structure.
e. Required Signage: One (1) sign not to exceed sixteen (16) square feet posted near the entrance with the permit number, date issued, and 24-hour contact phone number. A sign warning of an electric fence must be posted at least every fifty (50) feet and shall not exceed four (4) square feet.
f. Land Management: Grazing areas must be monitored to prevent overgrazing, erosion, and damage to natural resources.
g. Food and Water: Food and water shall be supplied in quantities in order to sustain the flock of sheep for the duration of the permit.
(1) A minimum of one (1) water tank/trough with enough water capacity to sustain the flock of sheep intended for the permit shall be provided on the grazing site to ensure adequate hydration for the sheep for the duration of the permit. Water tanks/troughs should be filled daily, or as necessary, and cleaned weekly to prevent odor and pests. Parcels which have access to naturally occurring bodies of water may be able to waive this requirement as approved by the Zoning Administrator.
(2) Food shall be supplied to supplement the prescribed grazing if the vegetation on the property is not enough. Supplemental food shall be stored inside of a building and shall be stored in metal predator proof containers.
h. Screening and Removal of Trash, Waste, and Manure: Trash and waste must be removed frequently to prevent nuisances, public health, or sanitation issues as provided in section 3-3. Any trash storage areas are not permitted to be visible from the street or adjoining or adjacent properties. Any feed for the prescribed grazing sheep must be securely stored and hidden so as not to be seen from the street or adjoining or adjacent properties. A waste removal plan for manure must be submitted with the application detailing how manure will be removed if necessary or if complaints are received. Parcels or a contiguous lot area of less than two acres must remove manure from the property bi-monthly and no more than fifteen (15) days in between removal in order to control odor and prevent unsanitary conditions. Lots or contiguous parcels which are greater than two (2) acres do not need to remove manure bi-monthly if conditions do not create an odor, unsanitary conditions, or other nuisance conditions and no complaints have been received.
j. Other Permits Required: No permit for prescribed grazing shall be granted without obtaining permits or permissions from any other necessary boards, governmental agencies and/or departments within the City.
k. Health: Grazing animals must receive proper veterinary treatment and regular deworming. In the event that a sheep becomes ill, injured, or perishes, the permittee must provide immediate on-site care and remove the sheep until it is no longer ill or injured.
A specified area of property where sheep grazing will occur.
The use of sheep as a landscape management technique to control the growth of native prairie grasses or undesirable vegetation, including noxious weeds and invasive plant or trees at a specific location of a defined length of time. For the purpose of this definition, sheep used for prescriptive grazing are not considered pets or farm animals.
A four (4) foot fence made of durable materials capable of holding sheep, which includes electrified fencing.
Female ewe, male ram, or a lamb. (Ord. 2005-1, 2-22-2005; amd. Ord. 2008-23, 11-24-2008; Ord. 2021-13, 10-12-2021; Ord. 2023-05, 4-10-2023)