Woman Petitions City To Allow Pet Potbellied Pig

Nov 6, 2019, 6:37 PM | Updated: Nov 7, 2019, 2:35 pm

LAYTON, Utah — The Layton City Council will consider a change to allow potbellied pigs as pets within the city on Thursday.

Resident Justine Needham said her household pet in many ways acts just like your typical dog, but it’s his appearance is what sets him apart. Bebop is a Vietnamese potbellied pig.

“He’s just the smartest animal I’ve have ever worked with,” Needham said. “Every time he learns a new trick, it is the most rewarding experience for me.”

Needham said potbellied pigs are very trainable and can be housebroken, just like dogs. Still, a Layton city ordinance does not currently allow them as pets. Needham learned that the hard way after she said a now-former neighbor complained.

“Animal Control issued a citation, which I am going to court for in January,” Needham said.

Needham is now petitioning the city to do what she said several other cities along the Wasatch Front have done and change their laws to allow the potbellied pigs as domesticated pets.

“He is smarter than a dog, and he has more of a personality,” Needham said. “He’s got lots of different grunts, that mean different things, and just his disposition is quite different than a dog.”

Needham took her case to the Layton Planning Commission on Sept. 24.

According to approved minutes from the meeting, commission members had concerns that the proposed change as it’s currently written, would allow the potbellied pigs anywhere in the city, including smaller dwellings, like apartments or townhomes.

The commission voted 4-to-3 to put the decision to the city council, with a recommendation to deny the request. Needham is hopeful that city council members will see as she does, that the pigs are much like dogs. She also said Bebop is her emotional support animal.

“I have PTSD, anxiety, ADHD and severe depression and he has helped,” Needham said. “Every day, waking up, feeding him, training him, having a routine, just being around him, being able to pet him — that has helped significantly.”

Needham isn’t sure what she will do if the city council does not approve the ordinance change. The council will hold an open hearing at their next meeting, on Thursday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m.

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Woman Petitions City To Allow Pet Potbellied Pig