tampabay.com

This little piggy is a pet, not pork

By ASJYLYN LODER
Published April 26, 2007


BROOKSVILLE - "That's a funny looking dog."

Mr. Piggy Price reacted with as much dignity as a wiry-haired, snouted pot-bellied pig can muster to the comment. He snorted, ate a treat, and turned in a circle.

Sandra Price of Cara Street in Spring Hill, proud owner of Mr. Piggy, brought the year-old pot-bellied pig to the County Administration building at 20 N Main Street Tuesday morning. Price wanted the County Commission to designate her pig a pet, rather than a farm animal.

Farm animals aren't allowed on residential property. Or for that matter, in the Government Center. An exception was made for Mr. Piggy.

Commission Chairman Jeff Stabins admitted meeting Mr. Piggy ex parte that morning on the steps of the Government Center. "Ex piggy," he called it.

"But it will in no way influence my vote," Stabins said.

Price was one of two petitioners who asked for permission to keep a pot-bellied pig on residential property after being cited for violating county rules. The owners of 12-year-old Cupid asked for a similar reprieve. Their pig remained at their Spring Hill home on Tuesday.

To demonstrate his pet-ishness, Price had Mr. Piggy turn around, beg and sit. He happily snapped up her proffered treats and enjoyed some applause and scratches behind the ears.

Price bought him when he was eight days old, and bottle fed him for three months. Mr. Piggy will live 8 to 18 years, and grow to about 105 pounds, according to her research. He's been vaccinated, neutered and micro-chipped. Mr. Piggy is not food.

The County Commission has run into this problem before with pot-bellied pigs, as well as "pet" geese, ducks and roosters. County Attorney Garth Coller said the County Commission has in the past allowed the animals to remain through their natural life, as long as the owners agree not to get another one.

The County Commission voted unanimously to allow Mr. Piggy and Cupid to live out their natural lives in the company of their pleased owners.

Asjylyn Loder can be reached at 352 754-6127 or aloder@sptimes.com.