Legalize pigs! Ban bad pig parents, not all pigs.

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The number of pigs looking for homes across the US is astronomical. The reason for some of this is lack of research, but some can be blamed on city/zoning restrictions too. Many people are simply not aware that there may be rules that do not allow pigs to live in a particular city. I am asking the city of Virginia Beach to consider amending the outdated ordinance that forbids miniature pigs to reside within the city limits in the residential community. Surrounding cities in the Hampton Roads area have been petitioned and amended similar ordinances in those cities. Chesapeake, for example, does allow one miniature pig per household. 

There are many cities and towns across the USA who have ordinances restricting pigs from living in city limits. There are also many more that do not address pigs at all. Pigs live in homes all across the country with many cities restructuring outdated zoning ordinances to allow porcine family members to live within the city limits. Pigs are pets too and should not be restricted to "farming communities" only or "out in the country". This petition was created to show that there is a large mini pig community who will stand as a united front to educate those who may not be as familiar with pigs as those who have them as pets. As with any pet, there is a family like community on social media where each pig parent has the opportunity to ask questions and/or get sound advice from people who are leaders/experts in the pig arena.

Pig parents are scattered all over the world, there are hundreds of thousands of families with a pet pig across the US and many more worldwide. Many cities/towns/counties put ordinances in place far before potbellied pigs were ever introduced to the United States, so the term livestock doesn't apply to the pet pigs that we are trying to legalize. The term livestock literally means farm animals that are raised for profit. The pet pigs/companion pigs that we have living in our homes are not full sized farm pigs and are not sold for profit, therefore, livestock is an inappropriate term to describe them. The agricultural community has different standards with regards to their animals, for example, livestock feed is not taxed, pet pig food is taxed. Pet pig parents do not receive a tax deduction for their choice of pet while the agriculture community can claim loses on their taxes. Potbellied pigs do come in many different sizes that can range from 70 pounds up to 300 pounds. They're often referred to as "mini pigs" though this term can sometimes be deceiving. The term swine is also used in some of the ordinances that I have read and the simple definition of swine is a pig...we can't argue with the use of that term, however, in most cases, again, the ordinance was put into place before the miniature versions were brought to the USA, so they were put into effect to try and control the pig production market within city limits. 

For towns or cities with no ordinance in place, this means that you are neither allowed or prohibited from having a pet pig within city limits, but, this is actually a problem because the city council can create an ordinance that doesn't allow pigs in general to live within city limits or other specific criteria, at any time, that will affect a family's pig. Obviously the ideal solution would've been to research city ordinances prior to purchasing a home in the city, however, when you're not aware that pet pigs are a topic of debate, you also don't know to check and see if there is an ordinance forbidding them to live within the city limits.

Pigs are pets too. They're not much different than any other domesticated pet you would find lounging around on the deck in someone's backyard or playing in the pile of leaves with the kids. Please don't forbid a pet that you aren't familiar with simply because you don't know enough to make an informed decision. Please allow us to plead our case and consider amending or creating an ordinance that allows potbellied or "mini pigs" to live within the limits/boundaries or your city. Here are some "facts" that you may not be aware of, but personal convictions that we feel strongly about.

•Pigs can be easily house-trained.

•Pigs are extremely intelligent, it's been said they are as smart as a 3-4 year old toddler. They are ranked 4th smartest mammal.

•Pigs should be spayed/neutered. Intact pigs do not make great pets.

•Pig parents should be educated regarding proper care for their pig.

•Every family with a pig should have a veterinarian that sees pigs, and we do.

•Pigs need outdoor time and you should expect them to act like pigs. 

•Pigs are social animals, therefore, pigs actually do better in pairs.

•Pigs are prey animals, so a fenced in yard is ideal to protect our pig from getting out, but also to protect our pig from predator animals getting in.

•Many cities have vaccinations that are required for other pets and with the exception of rabies, there are vaccinations similar to those for other pets available. The dog rabies vaccination is used for pigs off label. There have been no reported cases of rabies in a vaccinated pig. 

•Obesity is a problem for pigs. So is starvation. Please be mindful of the various shapes and sizes pigs are prior to making specific rules for any ordinance. 200 pounds may be obese for one pig, but that may be the ideal weight for another pig that is a little taller and longer. Restricting the size a pig can be often results in pig parents restricting the feed and causing malnourishment issues/nutritional deficiencies. (teacup or micro pigs do NOT exist)

•Pigs do not smell, they also don't sweat. A clean water source should always be available. 

•A sturdy shelter free from drafts is suggested for outside time. In areas with inclement weather, it's best to be too prepared than not prepared enough. 

•The USDA does NOT regulate potbellied pigs because they are not a food source.

•All pigs need training. I have gone to great lengths to be sure my pig is trained to interact with the general public and she is well on her way to becoming a registered therapy pet that will work in animal assisted therapy.

We abide by the basic rules of good pet ownership and provide everything above for our family pet. We thank you for taking the time to read our petition and more-so for considering amending an outdated ordinance or creating one to allow potbellied pigs to live within city/town/county limits.