Sherwood Park family petitioning for pig exception

A petition to let a Sherwood Park family keep their pet potbellied pig has more than 1,000 signatures, said the pig’s owner.
The family of Eli the pot-bellied pig is hoping the county will make an exception to its bylaw forbidding livestock from living in residential areas. (Lisa MacGregor/CBC)

A petition to let a Sherwood Park family keep their pet pot-belly pig has more than 1,000 signatures, said the pig’s owner.

“He’s not much different than a dog,” owner Michelle Kropp told CBC’s Mark Connolly Wednesday morning.

“There’s no way to explain to a 7 and 10 year old that their beloved animal is going to be taken away because of one person?” she said.

However, Strathcona County says Eli is a prohibited animal and has given the family until June 12 to get rid of him, otherwise he'll be taken away.

Listen to the full Edmonton AM interview

“What elected officials do is set policy and the policy … in Strathcona County is that swine are livestock and they can’t be kept in an urban area,” Strathcona County’s mayor Roxanne Carr said Wednesday.

“Now, Eli could be kept in our acreages or most of our rural areas, so absolutely Eli can stay with his family, it is just a matter of having livestock in the right place.”

Carr also said the county would be open to discussing changing the bylaw if there was enough support from the community but Kropp said she doesn’t want that to happen.

Saying that raising pigs is no easy feat, Kropp, who works with therapy animals, said she just wants an exemption for Eli.

Petitioning to save Eli

While Kropp says one neighbour is very unhappy with Eli’s presence, others have been supportive about the family keeping their pet.

Kropp and her family took a petition out to neighbours explaining the situation and asking for their help.

“It’s endless, actually,” she said. “95 per cent of our neighbours didn’t even know we had a pig and every single one of them signed in favour of Eli.”

Kropp said she has also sent a personal note to the mayor pleading the case.

And as for the impending June 12 deadline, Kropp was not able to say what she would do with Eli.

“Under no law that we understand would it be appropriate for them to seize our animal,” she said, obviously upset. “Seizing an animal is not a bylaw penalty.”

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