Edmonton sheep farmer given more time to say goodbye to his flock

EDMONTON — An Edmonton hobby farmer has been given extra time to part ways with his flock of sheep after the City of Edmonton ordered him to get rid of the animals earlier this summer.

David Koch originally had until Sunday, Sept. 20 to find new homes for 50 sheep he’s been keeping at his 1.14-acre property in the Ellerslie area. However, Koch said Animal Control contacted him Sunday morning to say he now has until Oct. 14 to relocate the animals.

“Saturday afternoon was frantic. I even phoned the humane society. I was thinking I was going to have to butcher some sheep,” Koch said Sunday afternoon. “All of a sudden, Sunday, today, early in the morning he phones me up and he’s offering me one to two weeks up to October 14.”

Keith Scott with the City of Edmonton’s Animal Control department said he could tell Koch was making every effort to find new homes for his animals, so he thought it was only fair to give him a slight extension to make the necessary arrangements.

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Koch is happy he won’t have to destroy any of his animals.

“The train is already moving, people are coming up to pick up the sheep,” said Koch, “but it’s nice to have that little bit of extra breathing space so you can find the right person for the right sheep rather than just shoving them all of to somebody who won’t care.”

Earlier this summer, a bylaw officer stumbled upon Koch’s herd somewhat by accident. The officer happened to be driving past Koch’s property and saw several sheep on the side of the road. After speaking to Koch, the officer learned his property was not zoned for livestock.

The city ordered Koch to get rid of the sheep or face a fine of $500 per animal, totalling $25,000. Throughout the process, city officials said they were never taking aggressive enforcement and were confident they could work with Koch to find suitable homes for his animals.

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