Shel­don the pet pig avoids evic­tion by city

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - JOEL OPHARDT jophardt@thes­pec.com 905-526-3408

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.

HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR FILE PHOTO

Diane Hines and Jay House with their pet pig Shel­don in their Hamil­ton home. Shel­don will be al­lowed to stay with its adopted fam­ily.

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