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Monterey Park Weighs Plan to Allow Potbellied Pig Pets

August 26, 1990|HOWARD BLUME

MONTEREY PARK — The City Council will consider a proposal Monday to allow city residents to keep Vietnamese potbellied pigs as pets.

Most urban municipalities explicitly bar pigs, while many rural communities strictly regulate how swine may be kept, because of concerns over odor and, years ago, over disease.

But Monterey Park police Capt. Jim Strait is convinced that miniature pigs deserve special treatment, according to a report he wrote for the City Council after he and officers from his animal control unit researched the subject.

They received advice from Los Angeles animal control officials, as well as the San Gabriel Valley Humane Society. "We're told these are excellent pets," he said. "They aren't dirty, and they don't create a nuisance, and it would not create adverse conditions if we allowed them as legal pets."

The adult pigs, which can cost thousands of dollars apiece, can weigh from 30 to almost 200 pounds and live about 15 years. Just one pig would be allowed per household.

The city does not permit sheep, goats or horses, nor even miniature horses, Strait said. Ironically, La Habra Heights permits all those other animals but makes no allowances for the miniature pigs.

One La Habra Heights family recently said it has decided to move rather than surrender its potbellied pigs. The 17,000-square-foot lot of Gerald and Kathleen Hartinger is too small to house a pig, according to that city's laws.

La Habra Heights officials ordered the pigs removed after a neighbor complained that the pigs smelled, which the Hartingers denied.

Capt. Strait does not foresee an odor problem in Monterey Park. "If the owners take care of them, they're clean and well kept," he said. "In that respect, they are very much like dogs."

Los Angeles city law forbids any pig in a residence and only permits swine in areas zoned for agriculture. "Pigs are intelligent, and they are clean," said Dyer Huston, a spokesman for the city Department of Animal Regulation. "But a pig is a pig."

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