Family can keep pot bellied pig

A majority of Vernon council has agreed to provide a temporary exemption to a family

A backyard pig has been given a reprieve.

A majority of Vernon council has agreed to provide a temporary exemption to a family so it can continue to keep a pot bellied pig as a pet despite it going against bylaws.

“If any complaints are received about odour in the future, council can revoke the exemption,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham.

Staff had recommended that compliance with the animal regulation and animal pound bylaw be enforced. Under the rules, all swine, including pot bellied pigs, are considered farm animals and not allowed on residential lots.

However, Coun. Scott Anderson says research he did dispels concerns from staff.

“They smell less than a dog,” he said of pot bellied pigs.

“My dog is 100 pounds and a neighbour’s dog is 150 pounds. The argument against, it doesn’t seem to wash.”

Opposition to the exemption came from Mayor Akbal Mund and Councillors Bob Spiers and Brian Quiring.

“I don’t want to see a 200-pound pig walking around my neighbour’s yard. We have bylaws for a reason.” said Quiring. “I can’t believe we would allow a pig to walk around oinking and snorting.”

Mund believes the exemption may set a precedent.

“I fear it opens it up to other farm animals — horses, cows,” he said.

However, Anderson pointed out that council approves variances to bylaws regularly and that doesn’t set precedent, while Cunningham says the issue of future pot bellied pigs can be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

“I don’t think there’s a plethora of pigs out there. We allow chickens, six chickens (in yards),” she said.