A Navy veteran who contracted bacterial meningitis decided to get a pig to be her service animal. Now, she is being fined $500 by the City of New York.
Nadine Darsanlal ended her deployment by receiving a bacterial meningitis diagnosis. Due to the diagnosis, Darsanlal was able to get a service animal – Wilbur the pig. Darsanlal says that Wilbur has helped her in more ways than one, but now, the city is slapping her with a $500 fine for owning a “wild animal” even though Wilbur is a trained and certified service animal.
“I've always loved helping people out, so I decided to train a therapy pig to help others out, to volunteer and go places to cheer others up,” said Darsanlal to HuffPost Live. “As a disabled veteran, I'm low income. I get disability," she said. "To pay a fine for a certified animal, I feel like it's ridiculous. There are so many dogs out there that are more aggressive than Wilbur or pigs in general, and they're legal. So I don't see why pigs are illegal. They're very sweet. They're kind.”
The Huffington Post reports that legislation has been introduced by New York state lawmakers to allow animals like Wilbur to be owned as pets, but in the meantime, Wilbur has been forced to live with a friend of Darsanlal’s.
“As my service animal, I need him for my companionship," Darsanlal told HuffPost Live. "My dog helps me out physically, but my pig helps me out emotionally. He helps me out with just daily living. I wake up for my boys, and just to have him not staying with me all the time and being there for me, it's like a piece of my heart is missing.”