A Twisted Tale

JONESBORO, AR -- One Jonesboro woman could lose her potbellied pet pig, all because of an old city ordinance that was created nearly 50 years ago not allowing swine within the city limits.

Michelle Eaton has collected pigs for 30 years and has quite the collection. Her interest in the animal inspired her to get the real thing.

Her pet pig Rudy is a Vietnamese Potbellied Pig. Michelle's had him since he was 4 days old and plans on keeping him.

"I had a visit from the Animal Control on Tuesday. They came and told me that we had to surrender Rudy," says Eaton.

A Jonesboro City Ordinance states that residents are not allowed to keep swine within the city limits. Animal Control told her a neighbor's complaint made them aware of the situation and since it is against the city law, she was going to have to give up her pig by this Friday or find Rudy a new home. But Michelle feels that rule doesn't apply to Rudy.

"He's not a swine. He's a potbellied pig and he's bred for being a pet, not livestock," says Eaton.

We contacted Jonesboro's Police Chief Michael Yates to get his thoughts.

"I certainly wouldn't have any objections to changing the city ordinance if that is in face what the citizens and the city council want to do," says Chief Yates.

But Chief says it's his job to enforce the law 'as is and right now, this pig is breaking it.

"We can't enforce other situations similar to it and not enforce this one, so from our perspective the city ordinance calls a pig a pig," says Chief Yates.

They say regardless of the old city ordinance, Rudy doesn't deserve to leave and they're going to fight to keep him here at home.

"He's like one of my kids. I carry pictures of Rudy in my wallet. He lightens up my day and lightens up my evenings and he's a lot of fun," says Eaton.

Fun, yes. He does like to ham it up, but is he a farm animal?

"To categorize him as livestock is just ridiculous, because they're not. They're pets to people and they shouldn't be excluded from living with the family in the city," adds Eaton.

Michelle and her husband John have contacted the city attorney and plan on attending the April 17th City Council meeting to address the city about changing the ordinance.