Society

Kirkman Family Battles Pensacola, Florida Over Pot-Bellied Pig And Livestock Ban

One family in Florida must decide what to do with their pet pot-bellied pig after city officials said it is violating a “livestock” ban ordinance.

The city of Pensacola is giving the Kirkman family until May to move, get rid of Buttercup or convince the city council to change the ordinance, the Pensacola News Journal reports.

David Kirkman, 47, his wife Laura, 44, and their two children, Molly, 9, and Butch, 7, say Buttercup doesn’t violate the ordinance because it isn’t livestock, rather a pet whom they’ve cared for since it was five weeks old.

The code enforcement board cited the family in December after receiving an anonymous tip that they were keeping a pig on their property.

The ordinance states, “It shall be unlawful to keep any horse, mule, donkey goat, sheep, hogs and cattle in any stable, shed, pen or enclosure within city limits,” according to the Associated Press. But the family of four insist Buttercup is a pet.

Laura points out the ordinance refers to “hogs” in the plural, but Buttercup is only one pig.

Nine-year-old Molly is a bit more upfront with what she thinks.

“We’re not going to eat her and we’re not going to sell her,” Molly said. “She doesn’t live on a farm. She sleeps in my room.”

Council member Sherri Myers believes the ordinance is “pretty outdated” and has agreed to take up the cause. She is now working on a proposal to exclude pot-bellied pigs from what is considered to be livestock.

“She’s not noisy. She’s not smelly, she’s not trouble to anyone,” Laura said. “Most people love her. She’s an attraction around here.”

Although they have a battle ahead of them, Laura thinks the situation is good for the kids.

“They’re learning how to handle a problem,” she said. “They’re learning to do things the right way, and to show respect while they’re doing it.”

Sources: Pensacola News Journal, Associated Press

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