Pet pig brings code changes


Published: Wednesday, January 14, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 14, 2004 at 1:16 a.m.
For a pig, Zena sure has commanded the attention of the Alachua County Commission.
Thanks to the 200-pound potbellied pig, the commission agreed Tuesday to revise its codes to make it easier for residents to have pigs as enormous but endearing pets.
Currently only cats, dogs and ferrets are recognized as pets in county ordinances. Swine are considered livestock. Under county law, no livestock can be kept on property less than an acre in size. And no more than one hog or swine is permitted on a parcel that must be at least three acres.
But Zena and her owner, Natalie "Sunny" Corr of Melrose, live on about a half-acre. County officials found out and cited Corr for the violation. That outraged friends of Corr and fans of Zena.
"She happens to be the darling of the neighborhood," said county Growth Management Director Rick Drummond. "Having a pet pig in a residential neighborhood is in violation of our codes. When you put all of these things together, you have conflict."
So the commission sought a way to allow pet pigs, and maybe other versions of livestock such as miniature horses, on residential land.
The recommended solution is to require owners of such pets to get a special exception to the zoning codes to allow the animals on land that is less than three acres. The county can use the process to impose restrictions such as buffers, screening and enclosures.
It is also cheaper than other alternatives, such as requiring a special-use permit. And it does not reclassify pigs as pets, which would increase the regulatory workload of the Animal Services department.
Corr said the solution sounds like a good move on the county's part.
"This pig I have is a pussycat," Corr said. "She is trained not to go out in the yard, she doesn't smell, my neighbors love her.
"This pig and I are so attached," she said. "Pigs are the third most intelligent animals after dolphins and whales, and primates. They really have feelings."
The commission will schedule a public hearing on the changes, probably in February.
Animal Services Director Randy Caligiuri said the number of potbellied pigs in the county is not known.
Cindy Swirko can be reached at 374-5024 or swirkoc@gvillesun.com.

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