Save Kevin! Allow Mini Pigs in Cambridge

Save Kevin! Allow Mini Pigs in Cambridge

5 August 2020
Petition to
Mayor Kathryn McGarry and 3 others
This petition made change with 697 supporters!

Why this petition matters

Started by Lucy Goddard

Allow Mini Pigs within Cambridge

On August 4th, the city of Cambridge served us a letter that states that a member of our family, our mini pig Kevin Bacon, is not allowed within city limits as he is considered farm stock. We knew this threat was a possibility, as I spoke to bylaw before adopting him to learn the rules (enforced only on a complaint basis). We also know what we need to do in response: prove his complete domestication (potty trained, knows commands, lives and sleeps inside, etc.) and show his emotional support animal status (in-home only).

It is our intent to gather signatures in support of Kevin and to adjust Cambridge bylaws to allow for domesticated miniature pigs to live as pets within city limits; preventing other miniature pigs from being ripped out of loving homes based on misinformation and misunderstandings of the breed.

Why am I fighting for this?
Kevin is more than a gentle, affectionate pet; he is also my emotional support animal. Since 2012, I have been permanently disabled due to a surgery complication. Kevin is highly tuned to my physical, mental and emotional health, providing touch and pressure relief as needed. He has helped me through agoraphobia and multiple panic attacks with his patience and compassion.

Kevin lives his life entirely indoors, going outside much like our dog does to do his business or enjoy the fenced yard. He is more trained than our cats and can perform tasks and tricks on command. These are not the descriptors of livestock, but instead all point to an intelligent and sensitive pet.

Are mini pigs allowed as pets elsewhere?
Mini pigs have been commonly kept as pets since the 1980’s. They are legal in many Canadian cities:
- Airdrie, Alberta
- Portage LA Prairie, Manitoba
- Kent County, New Brunswick
- RM of Ste. Anne, Manitoba
- Enderby, British Columbia

In addition, the following municipalities surrounding Cambridge have accepted mini pigs as pets:
- Brantford, Ontario
- Guelph, Ontario
- Hamilton, Ontario
- St. Catharines, Ontario
- Stratford, Ontario
- Chatham Kent, Ontario
- Welland, Ontario

So why aren’t they allowed in Cambridge Ontario?
Mini pigs have been misunderstood by city officials for quite a long time now; they believe pigs only belong on farms. The bylaw has been challenged and exemptions have been made for a handful of Cambridge mini pig residents, but mini pigs remain on the list of farm animals banned within city limits. In 2018, Cambridge city council suspended the animal control by-law that prohibits miniature pigs as pets to do more research, but no permanent changes have been made. We need to change that. Why?

- Mini pigs are extremely smart and sensitive animals. Like many mini pigs, Kevin can understand and respond to commands (like sit, spin, paw, go to bed).
- Mini pigs are creatures of comfort. Kevin likes nothing better than to flop into his bed in the living room and have you tuck him in with blankets and a belly rub.
- Mini pigs are the perfect pet for those who can’t have a cat or dog due to allergies; pigs are hypoallergenic, giving allergy sufferers a chance to finally have companionship with a huggable pet.

Council worries that pigs will make us sick
-Fact: Pet pigs present a very low zoonotic risk to humans. You are far more likely to get sick from your child’s classmates or a stranger at the grocery store than from a pet pig. Pigs living as pets are not exposed to the conditions and diseases of commercial farm hogs.
- Kevin has been vaccinated for all hog and dog-related diseases, including rabies and distemper. He is regularly seen by his vet and lives alongside our puppy.

They believe mini pigs are too big for the city
-Fact: Mini pigs average in height from 12 to 18 inches tall at maturity. They are short and heavy. They are very similar in height to English Bulldogs or Cocker Spaniels. Mini pigs average 50-150 lbs in weight when full grown (very similar in weight to medium to large dogs), but the pigs are much shorter in height than a dog with a similar weight. (A 70 pound mini pig will take up less space on the couch than his 70 pound Labrador Retriever brother.)

They will be too loud for the city
-Fact: Pigs are animals and do make noise as they communicate, just like all animals. A well-cared for pet pig will not cause any disruption to the neighborhood. Many pet pigs live happily in their home or in their yard with only soft grunting and quiet communications of contentment. Kevin is so quiet that many of our adjoining neighbours had no idea he lived here for over a year.

- High volume obnoxious sounds are more connected to commercial farm settings with many, many large animals, similar to a dog kennel or shelter. This is a completely different scenario than a single pet mini pig or single pet dog.
Council is afraid that pigs stink too much
-Fact: Pigs create less odour than pigeons, dogs or cats, which are all permitted as pets.
-Mini pigs have no body odor when they are spayed and neutered. They have very few functioning sweat glands, instead relying on water or mud to cool them off.
-All pets create waste, but pigs create fertilizer. Pig’s manure is composted to feed our garden. Swine manure contains several essential plant nutrients giving a higher crop yield than inorganic fertilizers.

They believe pigs are dangerous
-Fact: Pigs are affectionate, intelligent, excellent communicators, and very much loved as family pets across the world. There is no reason to fear them. These mini pigs are very similar in size to a bulldog.
- Statistics vary by locality, but residents are far more likely to be bitten by a dog or cat in the neighborhood than a pet pig. Pigs are much more likely to run away than charge.
- Kevin has met dozens of dogs and hundreds of humans on our property without incident, including our mail carrier who regularly gives him a scratch as he deposits our mail.

Won't Property Values Decrease?
-There is absolutely no evidence that property values will decrease by having a pet pig in the community.
On the contrary, mini pigs tend to bring a lot of positive attention, sometimes even media coverage! These special pets are opening the eyes of people everywhere. Local mini pigs often become celebrities in their own neighborhoods towns. They bring a certain joy to the community that no other pet does. We have many families who detour down our tiny street to visit Kevin on the porch.

But Pigs Can’t Live Indoors
-Mini pigs are very happy to live indoors, just like the family dog, as stated by the Merck Veterinary Manual. Kevin lives, sleeps and plays inside, going out only to do his business and eat some weeds.
- Mini pigs can be trained to use a litter box like a cat, or to go outside into the yard to use the bathroom just like the family’s dog. Kevin is fully house-trained, doing all of his business in designated areas of our yard. This waste is then collected and tilled into our garden.

Pigs are livestock
-Mini pigs are highly intelligent companion pets. Classifying a pet mini pig as livestock would be similar to classifying a child’s pet bunny as livestock because they are commonly raised in rabbitries in the meat/fur industry. Mini pigs are raised and treated as family pets. There is no correlation to the livestock swine industry. Penn State classify rabbits as livestock, yet this classification does not stop families from owning a rabbit as a family pet.
- Mini pigs are not raised, housed, treated, or used for the purposes of livestock. They are not a single breed (such as potbellied pig) but rather a size classification of smaller sized pigs that are raised as clean and quiet pets. There are several breeds of mini pigs, including Juliana and Kune Kune. This ordinance is outdated and needs to be changed to differentiate between livestock and pets.

Pigs are amazing creatures, they are phenomenal companions and to be honest, I can’t imagine our lives without Kevin.

Please sign and show council that it's time to update the bylaws to include house pigs as accepted pets

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This petition made change with 697 supporters!

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Decision makers

  • Mayor Kathryn McGarry
  • Councillor Mike Mann
  • Karl Kiefer
  • Helen Jowett