A New Boston resident is fighting to keep her pet pig, despite an ordinance preventing residents from keeping pigs within the Village.
“I have a pot belly, and I was turned in because they (a neighbor) don’t like my pig,” said Barb Horner.
“She’s a Vietnamese pot belly. She was sold out at Swap Days as a micro mini, and she wasn’t supposed to get any bigger than 16-20 pounds. She’s about 230, 250. But, I’ve had her for four years at 4312 Pine Street. She’s been there for four years, and I’ve had no complaints.”
Horner stated that she has always kept lime on her yard in order to ensure there is no smell as a nuisance to either herself or surrounding residents. However, she explained that she has been helping remodel a house for her daughter and had not been putting the lime down as frequently as she normally would, and now had gotten her first complaint as a result.
“I usually put lime on it about every other day. I go through three bags of lime about every six weeks,” Horner explained.
She added that her 4-year-old pig Isabella has been a part of the family since she was only 8-weeks-old.
“She lived in the house for 17 months, very smart, highly intelligent,” Horner stated about her pig. “She’s potty trained. She goes out the back door. But, she wasn’t getting any exercise, so I put her outside, and she still isn’t getting any exercise.”
Horner stated that pigs such as hers sleep more than 22 hours a day. She further stated that Isabella, the pig, doesn’t make noise nor does she cause any problems, and she likes to eat watermelon with neighborhood kids.
She pleaded with Council to let her keep her pig, which she says is “just a big baby.”
“This came to my office. It was a nuisance smell and noise,” Village Administrator Steve Hamilton stated. “I went up and investigated it, looked over the fence and really couldn’t smell anything, but I had to give the ordinance on a door hanger. I didn’t do anything else.”
He added that at this point in time, New Boston has not ordered Horner to get rid of her pig or taken it. New Boston did not cite her either. Rather, they had a discussion of the ordinance, considering its purpose and intent as well as the appropriateness of a change.
“I didn’t know the pig was there, and you would think that if it was a problem, more people would complain about it,” Hamilton stated. “Our ordinance states no pigs, no horses, no cattle, but I knew when I left the ordinance and left the door hanger, the first thing I told the mayor was that this was going to be a pot belly pig and that it was going to be a pet. It does not say anything about a pot belly pig in the ordinance. All it says is pigs. I don’t know if that means slaughter pigs. I don’t know what it means. And, you can not eat a pot belly pig. It’s up to Council if you want to put pot belly pig in the ordinance or if you want to leave it as it is. If you want to call it a pig, then she will have to get rid of it.”
In addition to Hamilton, members of Council explained that they did not know the pig was there including a member of Council who stated he lives across the alley.
Mayor William Williams further explained the Village’s law regarding the keeping of animals within New Boston as stated under 505.13.
“No person shall raise, keep, harbor chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea hens, pigs, sheep, cows, horses, goats or any birds, foul or animals on a parcel of land, lot or sub-lot within the municipality. However, the keeping of any dog, cat, canary or any similar bird or animal that has been historically harbored as a pet shall be permissible on any lot or sub-lot,” Williams read the ordinance.
Solicitor Justin Blume explained that making the pet distinction may create a problem within the future, opening up a slippery slope for other residents to claim they are keeping farm animals as pets.
“What you may consider as a pet may be different than somebody else,” Blume commented.
Violation of the ordinance is a minor misdemeanor offense. Council explained that they have a laws committee meeting approaching soon and decided to revisit the issue after some exploration of the law and possible solutions.
New Boston Village Council meets on at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of each month, in the council meeting room of the Vern Riffe Community Center, 3980 Rhodes Ave., in New Boston.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.