WATCH ABOVE: A Sherwood Park woman and her family have been fined and found guilty of violating the County’s Animal Control Bylaw. Laurel Gregory explains what that means for their pet pot-bellied pig.
EDMONTON – On Monday, a court upheld a violation ticket given to the Kropp family for keeping a pot-bellied pig in their home.
The judge fined the Sherwood Park family $100 and found them guilty of harbouring livestock, which is in violation of the County’s animal control bylaw.
Michelle Kropp has been battling with Strathcona County for months over her four-year-old pot-bellied pig Eli. Under county bylaw, the animal is considered livestock and not allowed to be housed in an urban setting.
Kropp says Eli is a trained therapy animal and is more than just a pet – he’s part of the family.
The Kropp family pleaded not guilty after being issued a violation ticket.
While some community members voiced concerns with the pig, Kropp and her family started a online petition to keep Eli where he is. It garnered thousands of names.
However, on Monday, the judge found the family was in fact violating the bylaw.
Judge: “I have no choice. I have to find you guilty.” Fine of $100 re: harbouring livestock.
— Laurel Gregory (@LGregoryGlobal) November 17, 2014
“I have to say, we’re all a little emotional,” said Michelle, leaving the law courts late Monday afternoon with her two young daughters.
“I just wish we could keep our pet,” said Jayme Kropp, choking back tears.
“He’s not livestock; he’s our pet.”
“He’s special to me,” added Jayme’s younger sister Maggie. “I’m used to having him around.”
Strathcona County feels for the family, but said pigs are not permitted in Sherwood Park.
“Obviously, it’s a very difficult time for the family,” said David Churchill with the County.
“We’re very empathetic to the fact that this pig is a member of their family.
“There are options within Strathcona County and we do hope that they relocate the pig to a rural area where they can continue to look after the animal.”
The County has applied for an order from the Court of Queen’s Bench. Under that order, the pig could be removed from the home as early as February.
In response to the ruling, the County also issued a statement:
“In light of today’s decision, Strathcona County continues to be hopeful the pot-belly pig’s owner will choose to voluntarily relocate the pig to meet the bylaw requirements.
“If the pig is not voluntarily relocated, Strathcona County will proceed with its application to the Court of Queen’s Bench for an Order requiring the pig to be relocated. The Court of Queen’s Bench hearing is expected to occur in early 2015.”