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Montreal family fights to keep pet pig

WATCH: Sarah-Maude Ravanelle was surprised when city inspectors showed up at her home in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve earlier this week and gave her a 15-day notice to get rid of her pet micro-pig. As Global's Phil Carpenter reports, Ravenelle intends to fight for the right to keep Babe home.

When most people hear the word “pet,” the last thing that comes to mind is a pig.

Babe is a three-year-old pot-bellied pig that has lived with Mario Ramos’ family since it was born. For them, he’s more than just livestock.

“For us, it’s part of the family, like any other domestic pet,” Ramos tells Global News.

But two days ago, they got a visit from the city saying that a neighbour had complained. Ramos thought it was about noise, but the pig is usually quiet.

“He said that it was not about noise,” explains Ramos. “They just called us and told us there was a pig living here. That’s it!”

They were given 15 days to get rid of Babe or face a $300 fine. But he won’t be going anywhere — at least for now.

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Babe isn’t aggressive and gets along with children as well as the other pets.

“He’s a highly intelligent animal,” Ramos points out. “He’s more intelligent than dogs.”

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He thinks the exclusion of pigs is an oversight. Even fish are absent from Montreal’s list of animals considered suitable as pets.

“Right now, there are pets on the list like serpents of two metres that are allowed, says Ramos giggling, “but domestic pigs that are kind of like big bulldogs are not allowed.”

Alanna Devine, director of animal advocacy at the SPCA, says pigs can be tough to care for if a family isn’t prepared.

“Pot-bellied pigs are extremely demanding as pets,” she stresses. “These are animals that can live as long as 20 years old.”

But she thinks asking a family to get rid of its pet pig could be a mistake.

“What we want is to ensure that these families don’t have to part with these animals but to make sure that [the city] won’t just simply add them to the list of permitted animals, which we know leads to unfortunately exploitation and overabundance of these animals in shelters.”

In a statement, the city of Montreal said it’s looking into the issue.

“It should be understood that the micro-pig is not on the list of animals allowed in the regulation on animal control of the City of Montreal, which is currently under review. The situation is therefore under study.”

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Now, Ramos and his family are waiting to hear back from officials. They’re hoping they won’t have to part with their beloved Babe.

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