Potbelly pigs allowed under new city rules

Brock A. Stein | 12/8/2016, midnight
Pot belly pigs will be allowed in the city following some rule changes approved by the Joliet council this week.
Tasha the pig Facebook

Pot belly pigs will be classified as farm animals under a change in city ordinance governing the keeping of non-traditional pets in the City of Joliet.

The new rules approved by the city council this week will allow the pigs to be kept in the city if owners meet certain guidelines however.

Owners will be allowed to keep only one pig per residence providing that the animal has been spayed or neutered. Owners of a male pig will also need to ensure that their tusks are trimmed as well.

The animals will also have to be confined to a fenced yard and will have to be on a leash or other restraint with an adult when out in public.

Owners will also be required to maintain a clean yard free from animal waste and will be required to keep current vaccinations under the new rules.

The changes will also classify other “dangerous, exotic” and “primates” that will also be prohibited in the city including lions, tigers, bears, wolves and coyotes among others.

Exotic animals prohibited under the new ordinance include the keeping of alligators, crocodiles and venomous snakes. The rules also state that the keeping of primates is also forbidden including chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and monkeys among others.

The change in ordinance follows a notice that resident Joann Flannery received earlier this year from the city informing her that keeping her pet pot belly pig Tashsa at her home in Joliet was a violation of city ordinance.

Tasha received about 40,000 signatures in an online petition that asked the city’s planning department to make the change to their ordinance arguing that she was a “family member” and not just a farm animal.

Before the change was approved this week, Tasha’s owners were faced with having to find a new home for their pet and could have accrued fines of $750 per day.

City attorney Martin Shanahan said that after looking in to matter of keeping pigs as pets he said that he found that the animals are generally agreeable companions.

“They’re not really aggressive,” he told the city council this week. “They’ll only bite if they’re afraid.”

Shanahan could only find two cases of aggressive behavior and many more where pigs were the victims of aggression. He said that the fence rule was in place more to protect the animals from other animals describing them as having “few defenses.”