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Resident Looks to Bring ‘Teacup’ Pig Home

However, with the city’s ban on a variety of animals, it’s not likely to happen.

A Lakewood woman would like to keep a ‘teacup’ pig as a pet in her Cohassett Avenue home. 

However, a number of animals — including swine — are prohibited from living in the city, according to city ordinances. 

Shelby Costo, a lifelong resident, asked for council’s blessing at a recent council meeting to keep the domesticated, smaller-sized pig in her home.

It's called a "teacup" pig, because — wait for it — the animal is small enough to fit inside of a teacup.

“I have always been looking for a pet experience that is more unique than just a dog or a cat and that also would not be dangerous to the community,” she told council. “These interact well with other dogs and I do have two pugs already at home as well as small children. They thrive very well in a house and yard.”

Council members — as well as the administration — weren’t thrilled with the plan.

Law director Kevin Butler said Costo likely won’t be allowed to keep the pig as a pet.

The ordinance spells out that the mayor may grant exceptions for “scientific” or “educational" purposes, but Butler noted that this request doesn’t fall into either category. 

"There’s no difference between having a baby tiger,” Butler said. “Any type of swine is clearly defined as prohibited — no matter if it’s really small.” 

This isn’t the first time that a resident has looked to house animals prohibited by the Lakewood Codified Ordinances.

“We get requests every once in a while,” said Butler. “Over-sized servile cats — we get those requests often. Someone recently wanted a goat for the purpose of cheese-making.” 

“It’s not uncommon for people to come in with requests.”

More notably, earlier this council considered allowing hens in the backyards of four Lakewood families as part of a mayor-supported pilot project, but instead council voted to take away the mayor’s ability to grant exceptions to allow hens in the city.

Adam November 14, 2012 at 04:02 PM
You have to be careful with these "teacup" animals. Much of the time they are sold with the promise of not growing beyond their small size, when in reality they do end up growing larger than the person looking for the animal had anticipated. They usually end up getting rid of the animal. Also in the case of keeping something like a goat for cheese, it's unecessary and would easily get out of hand for someone not fully educated. Animals like goats, cows, etc. need to be pregnant in order to produce milk. So this owner would be having to deal with offspring every year and figuring out what to do with them. These situations usually end up being more than they bargained for, and almost never end up well for the poor animals.
Kevin Butler November 15, 2012 at 02:58 AM
Halley, my comment was about what the code says: all prohibited animals (I used the examples of tigers and swine) are listed together under the code; there's no distinction. I wasn't suggesting anything about the nature of a teacup pig vis-a-vis a tiger. The ordinance in question is LCO 505.18, which can be viewed by clicking here and scrolling down: http://www.conwaygreene.com/Lakewood/lpext.dll/Lakewood/2719/2a56?f=templates&fn=document-frame.htm&2.0#JD_50518 Kevin Butler
Jane Mager November 15, 2012 at 07:07 AM
Please note that there is NO SUCH BREED as a "Teacup Pig;" nor are there any breeds such as "Micro," "Mini," "Micro-Mini," "Dandy," "Pixy," "Nano," "Thimble," "Tiny," or "Pocket." ALL of these names are fictitious marketing names that are used to suggest a diminutive size. They do not accurately reflect the final size and needs of the animal. The animals being shown in conjunction with these names are Potbellied Piglets and Crossbreeds--sometimes Kunekunes and Kunekune Crossbreeds--that are just weeks old. All of these animals will achieve an adult weight range of 90-250 lbs (sometimes higher for Kunekunes) when they finish growing at around 5 years of age. These animals live for 15-20 years and require space, time, a special diet, specialized vet care, and a long term commitment. Nationwide, sanctuaries are overflowing because prospective owners are taken with stories of "15 pound pigs" and "size guarantees" only to no longer want or no longer be able to care for the animal once it starts to grow! Please help us educate! http://lilorphanhammies.org http://facebook.com/LilOrphanHammies
Gina J. November 15, 2012 at 12:09 PM
Jane, thanks for the info and never did i suspect this was not a true teacup breed. Council should have done what most do and insert Google in to their research to make such decisions.
Jane Mager November 15, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Google won't help much. It's been breeder-bombed with incorrect information! The best thing to do is contact rescues and sanctuaries for information, including asking to speak with the vets that work with sanctuaries! It's very hard for prospective owners to get correct information and they end up being victims as much as the pigs do! We're working on materials for prospective owners and hope to have them available very soon!

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