Sheldon the pet pig avoids eviction by city
A $250 fine is a small price to pay to keep the pig in the pen. Or at home for that matter. Sheldon, the pet pig on the Mountain, was grandfathered into a 2012 bylaw preventing ownership on Monday. The city says the decision was based on owner Diane Hines and her partner providing a sworn affidavit that the pig was in the city in November 2011, and providing vet paperwork showing they have spent about $6,500 on the pig over the last year and a half.
“The fine was small compared to what he means to us,” Hines, who praised animal services for their careful consideration of the circumstances, said Tuesday.
Last week, a neighbour’s complaint against Hines forced her to fight her unlicensed pig’s eviction from her informal animal hospice, the Lazy Dazy Animal Haven. The five-year-old, 31-kilogram Vietnamese pot-bellied pig was rescued from a cousin after it started showing signs of illness, said Hines. Currently she houses three dogs along with Sheldon.
City spokesperson Ann Lamanes said this was the first complaint registered against Hines in her 16 years at that residence.
Hines estimates to have housed more than 20 animals in those 16 years on the Mountain.
“To an outsider it might look like we are collecting dogs or have an illegal puppy mill, but these animals are not in good shape” said Hines.
But to her knowledge, neighbours have been incredibly supportive of her efforts and have embraced Sheldon enthusiastically in the streets. Though the duo is considering expanding their free-of-charge operation by moving to a bigger property outside of the city, Hines says she still hopes to appear before city council to make the case for pigs in the Hammer. She understands many pet pigs are “given up, end up in shelters or in farms,” but she is hoping for a middle-ground solution that would require applicants to prove they have a set-up that makes for a happy, healthy pig; a backyard with adequate shade, water and room to dig.
Diane Hines and Jay House with their pet pig Sheldon in their Hamilton home. Sheldon will be allowed to stay with its adopted family.