A Tennessee woman is asking the public for help in keeping her beloved miniature pot belly pig, Maple, in her own home.
The woman, Courtney Profitt, might have to send Maple away because a neighbor in Columbia, Tennessee, complained to animal control.
Maple is illegal under a zoning ordinance that bans the ownership of livestock within 1,000 feet of another house. Under most town and city ordinances all pigs, including miniature pot bellies, are considered swine or livestock.
“A lot of those laws, I don’t want to say they are outdated, but they were put in place before these pigs got popular,” Profitt told The Columbia Daily Herald. “It’s not a huge deal, but they specifically use in the amendment here in Columbia the word, ‘swine,’ which describes livestock … but these aren’t classified as livestock. They’re pets, and they won’t get huge and she’s not going to be eaten when she’s fully grown.”
Profitt started a petition on Change.org to pressure the Columbia city council to change the zoning ordinance. As of now, Maple is living at a friend’s house outside the city limits.
Maple is the size of a puppy. When fully grown she will be 12-18 inches tall and 70-125 pounds – about the size of a large dog that already is legal in the town, the newspaper reported.
Her petition has 100,000 signatures.
“Miniature pigs are becoming more and more popular,” it reads. “They are clean, loving, highly intelligent, and really no different than a dog or cat. My mini pig, Maple, fits that description perfectly. Maple is the size of a small dog. She has the best personality, always playful, and has never caused a problem. My city, like many across the country, has ordinances that have not kept up with our changing understanding and relationship with animals like mini pigs.”
Ordinances meant to “prevent people from having livestock in the middle of a neighborhood” are being used to target pets, the petition reads.
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“I’m asking the city of Columbia, Tennessee to change its ordinance on pigs. Maple is not livestock — she is a beloved member of my family.”
Profitt is far from alone. A Mississippi man, Otis Lundy, almost lost his pet pig, Patrick, just as Lundy was about to be deployed to Iraq with the US Air Force.
Lundy had kept Patrick for years before a local ordinance banned pigs in town, The Clarion-Ledger reported. After news stories about the confiscation appeared, Moss Point, Mississippi, Mayor Billy Broomfield gave Lundy permission to keep his pet.
Elsewhere, Diane Hines of Hamilton, Ontario, started a similar petition to keep her pet pig, Sheldon, at home.
“This isn’t a farm pig,” Hines told The Hamilton Spectator. “I know some people assume mini-pigs are dirty and disgusting, but that’s not true. They’re wonderful.”
Like Profitt, Hines faces the loss of her pet because a neighbor complained to a code enforcement officer.
“I think the mini-pig is misunderstood,” Hines said.
Hines, too, will have to go before the city council to get permission to keep her pet.
“But I would still like to make the case that the bylaw should be changed, regardless,” Hines said. “Maybe I get to keep Sheldon, which would be great. But that doesn’t help anyone else. And truly, these are really wonderful, loving pets.”
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