June 2, 2014 11:46 pm

Fight over a pot bellied pig divides Sherwood Park neighbourhood

EDMONTON – A battle is brewing in Sherwood Park over one family’s beloved family pet: Eli the pot bellied pig.

Under Strathcona County bylaw, the animal is considered to be swine, which is not allowed to be housed in an urban setting.

“I’m not trying to oppose a bylaw, I think a bylaw is in place for a very good reason – pigs typically shouldn’t live in homes, but Eli is unique,” says Eli’s owner, Michelle Kropp.

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She argues that Eli is not livestock, but a trained therapy animal.

“He’s worked with Dream Catchers, and he’s been certified as a co-counselor,” Kropp explained.

But an online petition has been started by a neighbour to get Eli evicted; nearly three dozen people have signed the letter which reads:

“Potbelly pigs are pigs, which are farm animals that need to live on a farm with other pigs!”

Despite the signatures, several of the comments on it say it’s off base and the family should be able to keep its pet.

Kropp has also started a petition of her own, which has garnered more than 20 signatures from her neighbours.

“I’ve never heard the pig, smelled the pig, just only when Michelle brought him over and when she lets us know he’s out and we are excited to go see him,” said one neighbour, Tana Currie.

Ian Gray, with Strathcona County’s Transportation and Agriculture Services, says the bylaw doesn’t allow for special permits – something Kropp is hoping for.

He explains the County gets a lot of requests for special permits, and consistency is key.

“You can very well imagine if you’re not consistent in the application of bylaw, where that can lead.”

Kropp is the creator of Hearts and Hooves and has won several awards for her work with therapy animals, including the Global Woman of Vision award.

With files from Quinn Ohler, Global News

© Shaw Media, 2014

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