This past April news surfaced that Brookhaven City Council has made pot-bellied pigs—domesticated versions of clas-sic animals such as those on Old McDonald’s farm—legal as pets. City Council duly posted that its decision was by unanimous vote.
There are some other restrictions, however. Only one pot-bellied porker is allowed as a pet-in-residence. And the home of a pot-bellied pig must be a single-family house or a detached-residential unit. Also, pot-bellied pig pets cannot blimp up to more than 200 pounds, so one must monitor overfeeding. (As cute as the little pot-bellied piglet posers in our headline pho-to are, they grow at astounding rates.) The new Brookhaven city ordinance regulating legal pot-bellied pigs also states they must be neutered and vaccinated, a reasonable restriction that pertains to other pets.
Overall Brookhaven is more permissive than many cities in its list of creatures that are legally allowed. For examples, bee hives and egg-producing chickens, both of which have become increasingly popular in our own times as models of sus-tainability, are legal in Brookhaven as well. Pigs have long been traditional in farming areas which the old Brookhaven community, founded in 1910 but existing prior to that under other names, was for generations. There was no compelling reason years ago to make something so commonplace illegal.
Pot-bellied pigs have been in the U.S. since about 1986—I remember seeing my first one with considerable astonish-ment in the 1990s, in Decatur. It was at my dear Uncle John’s condo at the corner of Scott Blvd. and Clairmont. The pig’s owner, a neighbor named Bill, used to visit Johnny. Bill proudly walked his good-sized pot-bellied pig on a harness and leash, which somehow seemed comical to me, I don’t know why.
Bill emphatically said his pig was the perfect pet. Both human and pig were devoted to each other, which left me touched, but also bemused. I’ve no idea whether that pet was legal or not then by Decatur statutes, but Bill sure loved his pot-bellied pig, which always waddled happily along with him. The two were quite a sporty pair in their promenades, and it was life-affirming how they faced the world together with impressive, confident and content assurance.
Bill boasted that his pig—and I wish I could remember its name—was the perfect pet. Indeed this pot-belly pig was clean, odor-free, non-allergenic, didn’t shed, litterbox trained, and not destructive at all. Pigs are known for being smart, supposed to be the fifth-most intelligent of God’s creatures: it goes humans, monkeys, dolphins, whales and then pigs. They’re affectionate, crave companionship and love to cuddle, which Bill did with his pig. Pigs communicate with amusing squeals when they’re happy, and nothing does it for them like food, so they’re always rooting around and finding crumbs and bits.
One thing I began to notice however, was that Bill’s pig, though cute, was demanding and manipulative. Bill had fallen into what seemed to me to be a trap, giving an inordinate commitment of time to his pot-bellied pig. And then I noticed that the two, Bill and his pig, were nearly always together. That to be sure made them both very happy, but I realized it just wasn’t something that I wanted.
– Dr. Paul Hudson