Zoning Rules for Potbellied Pigs differ from each state, each city, each town, and each municipality. Many of the zoning rules that cities apply to potbellied pigs are very old, sometimes twenty and thirty years old. The place to contact if you need to know if pet potbellied pigs are legal in the city or town where you are, or where you want to move, is the zoning department in that municipality for the information. Ask what the laws are regarding the keeping of pet potbellied pigs. If they say there isn’t any law the potbellies are usually lumped in with the livestock laws and these laws are always for feeder and breeder pigs and some were made before 1985 when the pots came into this country. If someone tells you that The Potbellied Pig is legal make sure you definatly get it in writing.
Rebecca DiNolfi is the zoning advisor for (NAPPA) North American Potbellied Pig Association. If you have zoning issuses or need help with the zoning in your area contact Rebecca at PetPigZone.com.
Double check with your local City/Town for their ordinance law. Here is a State by State list of cities that have passed zoning ordinances allowing potbellied pigs.
How do you check the zoning ordinances in your area?
Written 02/12/2015 by Brittany Sawyer
There have been so many who have had to fight to keep their pigs….Now there are experts that have dealt with zoning in various areas of the county…one in particular is Rebecca DiNolfi, she runs a website called pet pig zone (http://petpigzone.com) and has the tools and information that can help you; should you find yourself in a situation where your city authorities are telling you that you need to move or get rid of your pig…There is a fee for this service. She has worked very hard at trying to help people with zoning and over the years has become an expert in this type of thing.
So, before you have to sell your home or rehome your pet pig, there are some things you can do to ensure you’re even allowed to have a pet pig within your city/county limits and if you are, if there are any rules that apply. One website that stands out is http://www.bornfreeusa.org. This site has a running list of “exotic” rules for various cities and counties within the US and what is and isn’t allowed according to their ordinances. BUT…this is ultimately YOUR responsibility to find out and research yourself to ensure accuracy. This is one of many steps you can take to make sure you are safe from having animal control show up at your house and try to take your pig.
Go to your city’s website and check the zoning ordinance. First, check to see if a potbelly pig is considered livestock or swine, then put those terms in the search bar and read. If you don’t understand what you’re reading, call and ask what it’s meant to imply. If your city/county doesn’t have a website or you can’t find this information, call the zoning commission and ask. Be sure to write down names/titles and extensions of those you talk to. GET SOMETHING IN WRITING! Don’t assume because Shelly, the zoning office receptionist, said she didn’t see a problem, that it is ok. Shelly doesn’t have the authority to make that decision. Next, go to the zoning commissions office, every city/county should have one and ask to see the actual ordinance (if one exists) and get a copy. Then, call or visit animal control, these will likely be the people who enforce it anyways, so you need to know who they are and who is in charge. In reality, I want every single person at animal control to know me and my pig, God forbid she was to get out, they would know exactly where to return her to, or at least know who to call to pick her up from pig jail. They are the ones who will come to your home to remove your animal or request that the pig be removed from the city/county limits if he/she is not allowed. Hiding a pig really doesn’t work, I’ve seen people try and succeed for some time, but usually, someone at sometime, finds out and you still have to find another home either for your entire family or your pig. It’s heartbreak either way, for you and especially for your pig. It’s not fair to you or your city, but mainly, it’s not fair to your pig who ultimately has to pay the price and be removed from his/her family and grieve…we’ve all heard the stories of the pigs who aren’t thriving and depressed. The worst thing in the world is seeing a pig cry.
Here is an example of one city’s potbellied pig specific ordinance.
Some have fought the city and won, others weren’t so lucky….but know that you can also try and apply for a special permit…you would need to visit general district court in your area and ask the clerk of court what you need to do because I am sure the process is different for every area.
In my city, we fought and won. Each resident in my city in Virginia is allowed to have a potbellied pig. This pig has to be an indoor pig but can have outdoor accommodations. There are many stipulations that go along with the amended ordinance…. To find your cities zoning restrictions, you can go to your city’s website. I searched for the term potbelly pig on the city website under city codes and three ordinances populated. This is concrete proof I am allowed, I didn’t need to call animal control because I can read my city ordinance and see what the stipulations are and what’s not allowed. I am one of the few lucky people who have an ordinance that specifically labels potbelly pigs as a pet rather than livestock. Some cities allow livestock within city limits, but they have to be kept at least 500 feet away from neighboring yards, or they may have weight limits or other special things that they wanted to be included in their ordinance. Some have conflicting ordinances, the city says ok, but the county does not, or the homeowners association (often referred to as HOA) doesn’t want a pig in their neighborhood. And what they say CAN and WILL impact what you’re able to do. HOA are powerful because you sign a contract with them agreeing to their terms and they can enforce them.
This is the 20/20 news story about several people who are fighting to keep their pigs at home. Tucker won (yay) but on temporary conditions and will be revisited in a year from the ruling. Save Sooie was saved and then overturned and now in process AGAIN….support those who are fighting to keep their pigs, we see so many dumped every single day and it’s great that there are those who fight to keep their pets. http://abcnews.go.com/2020/video/families-fight-pet-pigs-neighbors-complaints-midlothian-virginia-27975928
If you don’t know what your city has in place and you already have a pig in your home, we advise you to check and see what rules are already in place (if any) and be prepared in case someone decides that they want to cause you trouble. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. And to be honest, I have stickers on my doors alerting people that I have a pig (really in case of a fire, for the firemen of course), she is part of our family and if no one knows we have her, no one would know to try and save her. Pigs don’t always make the best house guests. If you rent your home, and thats not really advisable, once it’s determined that your landlord approves of you having a pig on the property, you need to get that in writing should it become a legal issue later down the road. If you plan to continue renting, just be aware that a landlord doesn’t have to allow pets and you may have a difficult time finding another rental property that will allow you to have a pig. Owning a home can present challenges as well, especially those neighborhoods with a homeowners association. So do your homework, whatever decisions are made, be sure to get names, addresses, phone numbers and titles of those who are giving you the answers. Do NOT take someone’s word for it, always have something in writing for your own protection.
It’s in your best interest to check with everyone you can before you decide to bring a pig into your life, it’s extremely hard to live without one once you do.
There are many many families who do check only to find out later their pig isn’t allowed. Make sure you have something in writing or an ordinance that will support your argument. One of the latest cases where this happened is in the following link.
Another pig family fighting the city to allow their pig to stay
This is a friend of mine who had to move to another city in order to keep her pig.
Another family fighting a city Wisconsin
Some cities require different things, but this city requires that you register your pig with The North American Potbellied Pig Association. NAPPA has been changing the lives of pigs for many many years and this is only one of the many cities that have this requirement. We work passionately to provide up to date information to pig owners and this is the amount of faith these cities have in our organization. City Ordinance