A Cambridge woman says she may move if the city won’t allow her to keep her pet pot-bellied pig.
Tracy Baker came home from work on her lunch break on May 2. She said she then heard a knock at her door.
Upon answering, Baker said a Cambridge Animal Control officer told her the city had received a complaint.
“I asked what it was, they said, ‘You have a pig,’” Baker told Global News. “I said, ‘So what’s the complaint?’
She said the officer responded by saying, “Just that you have a pig and it’s against city bylaws.”
Baker was initially given two weeks to find a new home for her 120-pound pig or face a fine and potentially lose her companion.
She said she called the City of Cambridge the next day and was handed an extension until the end of May.
Baker will appear before city council on Tuesday evening in an attempt to plead her case.
She said she is hoping “they will either put a freeze on the bylaw for now until they review it or to make an exemption to consider her my emotional support animal.”
READ MORE: Montreal family fights to keep pet pig
Baker said she received Snowflake as a Christmas gift from her nephew in 2015.
“The year before that I lost my pug and my cat which upset my daughter and I,” Baker said. “Then my daughter went off to university in September. So in December, along came Snowflake.
“I am a single parent. It was kind of heartbreaking, so all of these losses and you’re a social person for your family.”
She said she suffers from anxiety and has been taking medication since the incident began. Baker said it has affected her work as a receptionist in a medical office.
“I make myself so busy so that the anxiety doesn’t become the foremost centre of my life, but then when you do sit down at the end of the day that washes over you,” she said.
Her daughter Jasmine created an online petition in support of the cause. It has received nearly 8,000 signatures.
WATCH: Hamilton couple might lose their beloved pet pig due to a city bylaw (July 18, 2016)
Baker said she is unsure who called animal control but exotic pets are prohibited in Cambridge under Bylaw No. 171-13. Included in the ban are Artiodactyl, a group which includes cattle, goats and, of course, pigs.
Baker may have found an ally in Ward 8 Coun. Nicholas Ermeta, who has come to visit Snowflake at her apartment.
“When I went by the apartment everything was in excellent shape. It was clean. The pig was well behaved,” he said. “I didn’t see any feces around the apartment. There was no mess of any kind — no smell. I think she took care of the pig very well.”
While he said he believes Baker takes good care of the pot-bellied pig, he is unsure how the City of Cambridge should move going forward.
“I’m still learning more about this. I believe that we really need to evaluate this and look at all the implications,” Ermeta said. “What I’m proposing tomorrow night is that we suspend the bylaw temporarily and that we direct staff to go back and review the situation.
He added he wants to see all the pros and cons assessed.
“I think we need to look at all the facts,” Ermeta said.
If the City of Cambridge does not adjust the bylaw or make an exception for Snowflake, Baker said she may simply move.
“Snowy, I love her no matter what and I don’t want to give her up,” Baker said. “And I am going to fight to the end If I have to. If I have to move, I know Guelph accepts pigs and mini-pigs. Their bylaw allows for it.”
— With files from Mark Carcasole and Jessica Patton