I can't seem to locate an online source about what animals you are legally allowed to slaughter for your own consumption in my city. I would like to harvest rabbit for us and rabbit and guinea pigs for the dog. People with pet snakes feed both but I wasn't sure if it was legal or just never prosecuted. I can see people having a knee jerk reaction to feeding these to dogs, especially in a city setting.
Would I contact Animal Control or look for agricultural regulations? Any hints or leads would be very appreciated.
DO NOT CONTACT ANIMAL CONTROL! In fact the less the authorities know about what you are doing the better.
Simply put do the animals fall into the pet or livestock category? If there is nothing specific in the city ordnances stating this type of animal is considered a pet (for example dogs and cats are pets but rabbits may have nothing calling them pets or livestock) then they can say if you are raising it as livestock by default it is. Be very careful with this because most cities do not allow livestock. I know a local town that a few years back decided to enforce this law with potbelly pigs because pigs are livestock yet folks kept them in their homes like a dog causing an uproar including a local elementary school having to send it's school pet to the farm. In other words it's a gray area compounded even more by folks who have snakes breeding and feeding them live (or recently dispatched) rabbits and other things.
In case you missed it what you need to do is look up the city ordnances/laws on both keeping pets and livestock. In some cases this can be done online but in others you actually have to go to city hall and look it up. While you are at it you also need to look at the same things for county and even state. Keep in mind that county or state laws can be enforced within city limits even if the city does not have a law superseding it. There may be a county wide ordnance restricting the number of animals per acre or part thereof. The city may not have anything but if the county does you are still going to be held responsible. The reverse may be true as well and usually is. Cities are usually more strict on number of animals as it discourages breeders and hoarders.
BTW I discussed possession rather than butchering because if they are not specifically called pets then you can butcher them just like a hunter can hang and butcher a deer in his backyard. Please be considerate of your neighbors and do this as humanely and secretly as possible. I know someone who once had the law called on them for performing "rituals" and all they were doing was slaughtering and butchering a goat for Saturday's BBQ. Of course the smoke from the pit and them being from Jamaica and thus suspicious in the backward southern mentality also led to the misunderstanding.
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