Jonesboro woman pens petition to save pet pigs

Pig Petition
Wilbur and Fern with the Barkley family (Source: Danna Barkley)
Wilbur and Fern with the Barkley family (Source: Danna Barkley)
Wilbur and Fern (Source: Danna Barkley)
Wilbur and Fern (Source: Danna Barkley)
Fern "snuggling" (Source: Danna Barkley)
Fern "snuggling" (Source: Danna Barkley)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Miniature Potbelly pigs Fern and Wilbur are special members of the animal loving Barkley family.

According to Danna Barkley, both pets are currently living at their home in Sage Meadows in Jonesboro, but they are facing relocation after a run-in with animal control.

She says animal control visited her home on Tuesday, cited her, and gave her a warning that she had 30 days to get rid of her pigs.  Barkley said she was "devastated" and "completely taken back" by the incident.

"They are really nice pigs and please don't take them away," said Ryder Gibson, Barkley's nephew who grew up with the pigs.

The pigs may have to be rehomed because of Jonesboro's Ordinance 952, which states in Chapter 10 Section 7, "It shall be unlawful to keep any live swine within the corporate limits of the city."

Jill Gibson, Danna Barkley's sister, said they believe the ordinance is referring to feeder and breeder pigs, not domesticated potbelly pigs.

"They are honestly no different than having a dog," Gibson said. "I know a lot of people have a hard time believing that but they really are the same as any other animal you'd have at home."

"It's just surprising and really sad because they are a part of the family and they've had those pigs and I really like them," said Ryder, who is Jill's son.

In hopes of keeping Wilbur and Fern, Barkley started a petition to amend Ordinance 952.

"Just get on board," Jill said. "I know this may seem minor to a lot of people but it's very important to them."

Fern and Wilbur have been part of the Barkley family for five years and are kennel trained and very smart, according to Barkley.

She said the pigs are domesticated, and one of the pigs even gets pampered with Bath and Body scented lotion.

"While we're sitting watching TV it is nothing for them to want to cuddle," she said, adding that Wilbur likes to put his head on her shoulder.

Barkley's 15-year-old son has grown up with the pigs and the family's bird, and three dogs are attached to the pigs as well.

Fern and Wilbur often have visitors from the neighborhood. One of the neighbors even brings her dog over to play with the pigs.

According to Barkley, she went to a board meeting and spoke with property owners, who had no complaints.

She said she knows to some it may seem silly to be this passionate about an animal but, "they are family members, and we love them dearly."

She also wants everyone to know that she does not want to make enemies her desire is just to keep her pets.

"We like living here," Barkley said.  "My mom and my sister live in the neighborhood, and we don't want to leave."

There is no one interested in adopting both pigs and an added weight in rehoming potbelly pigs is they may grieve themselves to death if taken from their owner.

Barkley said that she wants everyone to know the petition is online and asks that anyone with suggestions reach out to her.

If you would like to sign the petition to amend Ordinance 952 you can click here.

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