Councilmen discuss fate of family's potbellied pets

Family could keep pet pigs if law is amended
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

A decades-old law in Jonesboro might soon be amended, allowing a family to keep their potbelly pigs as pets.

The Barkley family has had Wilbur and Fern, two potbellied pigs, for five years.

In July, they learned it was unlawful to keep swine as pets, per city of Jonesboro Ordinance 952.

The ordinance, that was enacted in 1958, states "It shall be unlawful to keep any live swine within the corporate limits of the city."

The Barkleys were given 30 days to get rid of their pigs. The deadline was August 29.

Tuesday night, Danna Barkley made a last-ditch effort to keep their potbellied pets.

At the city council meeting, Barkley requested that Ordinance 952 be amended to allow for pigs like hers, that aren't used for breeding or feeding, to live in town.

Council members suggested that because of her knowledge on the issue, that she draft the amendment.

"Then we'll let Carol review it and one of us will sponsor it. Gladly!" Councilman Gene Vance said.

City Attorney Carol Duncan advised Barkley to be specific on the wording of the amendment.

"As someone who prosecutes violations of city ordinances from the City of Jonesboro, the biggest obstacle I see is how animal control is going to be able to designate a potbelly pig from a farm pig," Duncan said.

Duncan told Barkley it would be better to define a potbelly pig, not by the name, but by its size.

Alderman Chris Moore said in speaking with the USDA, he learned that there is no breed of pig called the "Vietnamese Potbelly Pig."

"I'd like to know what would keep anybody from calling any pig a Vietnamese Potbelly Pig," Moore said.

"Instead of using a term, which is fairly obsolete, I would like us to put more specifications on weight, height, size," Duncan said.

The council also suggested that the date Barkley was given to remove her pigs be pushed back until they could discuss the amendment to the ordinance.

Barkley said she's grateful her family doesn't have to be separated from Wilbur and Fern.

She plans to give Duncan the amendment for review next week.

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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