Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Zoning

Yes, you should check with your local zoning board to see if potbellied pigs, or any other exotic pet, are allowed in your community/neighborhood.

There is NOT a listing of which cities/towns are or are not zoned. You will have to go to your local zoning department and check with them. Sometimes this can be done on-line, other times you will have to go in person to check.

If you live where there is a homeowners association you will also need to check with them. Unfortunately many places still do not consider potbellied pigs pets. In many areas they are pigs period (livestock) and are subject to the rules and regulations that cover farm hogs.

Do you rent? If zoned you will still need to check with the owner of the building to see if they will allow potbellied pigs as pets.

So, CHECK YOUR ZONING FIRST!
 
We have lived way out in the mountains and away from any population centers, we had no problems with zoning. But, there have been many heartbreaking stories of people getting a pet pig, becoming very attached to their pet, and then were forced to give it up because of zoning. The breeder, pet store, etc.. should make sure that you are zoned first BEFORE selling you a potbelly pig as a pet.

So again: CHECK YOUR ZONING FIRST!
 
Contact City Hall and ask for the zoning regulations showing which animals are allowed as pets within city limits. Usually for a couple of dollars, they will be happy to send you a copy. Better yet, you should go down to them and see the ordinance for yourself and get a copy then. It's best to get it in writing so that you will have written back up in the future should you have any problems. Don't just take someone's word for it for the sake of the animal.

If you are not zoned, you have three choices:
  1. Do not get the pig. Some of the saddest stories we here are of people that had a pig, were not zoned properly, and someone (usually a neighbor) complained and the pig was taken away. Not only is this hard on the human, it is extremely hard on a potbelly. They become very attached and being ripped away from their home can be devastating. Please, do not take this chance!!

  2. You can move. Yep, this has happened.

  3. You can try to get your zoning changed. There have been successes around the country, and failures. But, more and more cities and towns are changing their zoning to allow pet pigs. Plus, the licensing fees are another income stream for the local government.
You must do all you can do to try and prove that your pet pig(s) are indeed commonly accepted household pets. Have your pet spayed or neutered. Establish a relationship with a veterinarian. Maintain your pet as a house pet, if at all possible. Most importantly be in compliance with your town's zoning. It is almost impossible to sway towns that want to not recognize potbellied pigs as pets.

Here is my friend Ann's story about what she and her family did to keep their 3 pet pigs.

My name is Ann, I live in Gerber, CA, located in Tehama County in Northern California. My Parents & I have lived in the area for over 5 years, 3 years ago they were given two wonderful potbelly pigs {Myrtle & Sweet Pea} and in May 2004 we adopted a third {Jasmine} from a sanctuary.

On July 20, 2004 we were informed that this area does not acknowledge potbelly pigs as pets {valued members of the family} they are considered just another swine and fall under the livestock regulations which require an acre of land per pig. We have about ¾ of an acre. We were informed that we had 10 days from the date the letter was sent to remove the girls from the property. The letter was dated and post marked for July 13th which gave us just 3 days. We were frantic!!

On Monday, my father made an appointment with the Tehama County Planning Director, we have been granted a stay till the issue could be brought in front of the Planning Commission for a vote in late September. The Director suggested that we check the zoning polices pertaining to Potbelly Pigs for other cities in California; however he did not pass on to my father how to do this. My father set about calling some of the cities around us and I sent an e-mail message out to several addresses that I found.

One of the responses that I received suggested the LexisNexis Municipal Codes Web Library -  http://www.bpcnet.com. This is a wonderful zoning web site. My Father and I sat down and went through the cities one by one printing off every thing that pertained to potbelly pigs. We were surprised at all of the different ways that potbelly pigs were listed. Looking at all of the information that we had gathered we knew that the Planning Commission would not want to go thought the information page by page so I sat down and did what I do best, I placed all of the information on a spread sheet.

The first of September we presented the Planning Director with a huge binder. A cute picture of a stack of pigs graced the cover, then information that were provided by Phyllis with UPPR, letters from veterinarians, a definition of a pet and all of the information that we gathered from the internet. The Planning Director was surprised at the amount of information that we were able to provide him with and assured us that he would share it with the Planning Commission.

Our first meeting was on September 16, 04 after which Jasmine and I were featured on the front page of the local newspaper. That was not quite the end, we went back to iron out little details three more time before a final draft of what will become the Tehama County Zoning Code for Pot-Bellied Pigs could be sent before the Board of Supervisors.

On January 25, 05 the Tehama County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the following Ordinance:

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

NOTICE IS HEARYBY GIVEN that the Tehama County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, January 25, 2005 at 10:45 a.m., or as soon thereafter as may be heard in Board Chambers, 633 Washington Street, Red Bluff, California, on the following matters:

REZONE #04-10. (PLANNING COMMISSION RESOLUTION #04-2) – To consider amending Chapter 17.08, General Provision and Exceptions, Section 17.08.010. Additional Uses Permitted of the Tehama County Zoning Code; adding Subsection (1), Pot-Bellied Pigs as follows: 

1.    Pot-Bellied Pigs. As an accessory use to a detached single-family dwelling in a RE; Residential Estates Zoning District and an R-1; One-Family Residential Zoning District, no more than five Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs (sus scrofa) may by kept or harbored as a pet. In combination with dogs, no more than five animals may be kept, provided:

a.    The animals are regularly housed indoors, and when outdoors, are restrained by leash or within a durable fenced enclosure area, and
b.    Pot-bellied pigs over the age of four (4) months shall be neutered or spayed. Exemption for neutering or spaying will be considered by the County of Tehama Animal Control Department when presented with evidence authored by a veterinarian stating procedure would be detrimental to the health of the animal; and
c.    The owner has obtained a license issued by the County of Tehama Animal Control Department for the pot-bellied pig, which shall be issued only after proof of neutering or spaying had been provided. The licensure fee shall be equivalent to the dog licensure fee; and
d.    Tusks shall be regularly trimmed so as not to exceed one inch in length outside the outer lip.

According to the Planning Director the above goes into law after 30 days providing the are no law suites – but he was very reassuring that there were no further hurdles to get over! He then congratulated us on the good job.

I would like to thank every one that weathered the storm before us without their efforts we could not have accomplished what we did. THANK YOU


Please check your zoning before getting a pig for a pet.

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