July 14, 2015 - 1:13 PM
VERNON - It was an unusual case that some city councillors fear might not be so uncommon any more.
A Vernon family desperate to keep their pet pig Felix pleaded with city council for an exception to a bylaw prohibiting swine on city property — unless on designated farm land — and got their wish Monday.
“It’s great to have bylaws, but they don’t always apply in every situation,” Coun. Catherine Lord says. “In this case, the woman who has the pig has a nerve disorder and she said it helps keep her calm. It's therapeutic, not just a pet.”
The temporary exemption means the family can keep the pig, however if complaints arise in the future, council can revoke it.
It’s a happy ending for the family, but not necessarily one for the city, Coun. Brian Quiring says. He feels time was wasted on the topic, and says council’s decision — which passed in a split 4-3 vote — will likely lead to more people asking for exceptions to city bylaws.
“I think the amount of time we spent on this is ridiculous…. Come on, we have a city to manage here and there’s lots of big things on the agenda,” Quiring says. “If we’re going to set a precedent that anyone can come on a case-by-case basis, what happens when someone says they want a mini pony? What about someone wanting a pet deer?”
A city staff report on pot-bellied pigs (often referred to as tea-cup, mini pigs, nano-pigs and micro-pigs) says they can grow to over 200 pounds, something Quiring says would be a concern for most neighbours. According to the report, there is no provincial regulation prohibiting pigs in residential neighbourhoods, and it's up to individual communities to determine how to handle them. In Vernon, at least two local vet clinics said they have clients with pot-bellied pigs, the report said.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015