Pot-bellied pig caught in Montreal pet bylaw kerfuffle

The owners of a pet pig named Babe have found themselves mired in Montreal's controversial and changing animal control bylaws.

Babe lived legally in Rosemont until Coderre's animal control bylaw made him an outlaw

Babe the pot-bellied pig and his kin are not included on Montreal's list of legal pets. (Julie Marceau/Radio-Canada)

The owners of a pet pig named Babe have found themselves mired in Montreal's controversial and changing animal control bylaws.

When Mario Jorge Ramos and his wife bought Babe, a pot-bellied pig, in 2015, each borough was responsible for its own animal control bylaws.

In the majority of boroughs, including Rosemont-La Petite Patrie where Ramos lived at the time, domesticated pigs were considered legal pets.

In 2016, when the former Coderre administration passed breed-specific legislation, banning all pit bull-type dogs, animal control was centralized.

Missing from the list of acceptable pets were fish — and pigs.

Tipped off by an upset neighbour, an animal inspector visited Ramos's home in Hochelaga this week, telling him Babe was illegal and giving him 15 days to get rid of the pig.

"Clearly it was a rule that was made really quickly because of the debate on pit bulls, so there's a grey zone," Ramos told CBC.

"The regulations are centralized to all of Montreal, but it's the borough that has to apply the rule," he said. "It's been applied arbitrarily."

On his downtime, Babe likes to lounge on his inflatable mattress covered in a handmade crochet blanket. (Sarah Leavitt/CBC)

Bylaw 'under review'

Mayor Valérie Plante's administration is currently reviewing the city's animal control bylaw, to adapt it.

Soon after Plante's party came to power, the administration made good on its campaign promise to repeal the ban on pit bull-type dogs. 

In February and March, the city held public consultations on the new bylaw, in order to hear from citizens.

"We are revisiting the animal control bylaw exactly for these reasons," Plante said, when asked about Babe's case.

"In 2015, pigs were allowed in Rosemont-La Petite Patrie and then, poof! That disappeared."

The administration wants to have the new bylaw in place by the summer.

As for fish?

"People will be allowed to keep their fish," Plante said, laughing. 


Sarah Leavitt


Sarah Leavitt is a multimedia journalist with CBC who loves hearing people's stories. Tell her yours: or on Twitter @SarahLeavittCBC.


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