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'Ghost pig' - and all others - can stay

The City Council unanimously rejects a ban on pigs.

Published February 25, 2007


PINELLAS PARK - Pigs are still welcome in this city.

The City Council unanimously rejected an ordinance Thursday that would have banned pigs from nonfarm areas in Pinellas Park.

The head of code enforcement had suggested banning Vietnamese potbellied pigs after receiving an unsubstantiated report of a rambunctious pig tearing up yards in the northern end of the city.

A Times story about the "ghost pig" prompted pig supporters to attend Thursday's meeting and question the wisdom of changing rules for a creature no one had seen. Council members agreed, and one suggested the marauder even could be an armadillo rooting for a snack of mole crickets.

Council members also were concerned that banning pet pigs could be the first step to demands to oust other creatures from the city. One possible target, suggested Sandy Bradbury, might be birds whose squawking disturbs neighbors.

Council member Ed Taylor agreed with Bradbury, saying, "Once it gets started, gosh knows where it ends up."

The whole issue, Taylor said, was "much ado about nothing."

Pinellas Park resident Kim Rose spoke in support of the pig. Referring to the Chinese calendar, she asked, "Would we really want to ban it in the Year of the Pig?"

Another resident who spoke was pig owner Chris Goforth. Although he and his pig Chickadoo live in the area where the complaint originated, Goforth said he doubts that Chickadoo is the "ghost pig" because she never leaves his yard.

Chickadoo, who has been with Goforth for 11 years, is more like a dog, he said. The pig comes to greet him when he pulls up to the gate.

Council member Rick Butler suggested the pig sounded like "barbecue to me," but quickly added that he had no problems with pigs in the city.

"I don't want to ham this up," Butler said.

"You are a ham," retorted Mayor Bill Mischler.

Mischler said the comments swayed his vote.

"I came in here tonight thinking I was going to vote for this," he said. "But, then again, we have a ghost pig."

After the unanimous vote, Mischler said, "The ghost pig stays, I guess."

The audience applauded.

[Last modified February 24, 2007, 20:50:41]

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