LANCASTER — A potbellied pig, evicted from his Lancaster neighborhood in March, is back in his former home after the City Council's preliminary approval of a law that allows residents to keep one pig as a pet--providing it meets certain size and weight requirements.
"As soon as I heard it, I ran out and picked him up," said Black Jack's owner, Laraine Schubert, who drove to Kern County to get the black-haired, 110-pound pig. "But I would have kept him here anyway."
No one testified for or against the ordinance at the City Council's meeting Monday night. A final vote is scheduled Aug. 1.
"There was no opposition," said Brian N. Hawley, director of community development. "It really is not that big of a deal, but unfortunately at the time, we didn't have any regulations for these animals to live in urban zones."
The City Council made the ordinance parallel the 1992 Los Angeles County ordinance, which allows potbellied pigs no taller than 20 inches, longer than 40 inches and weighing 120 pounds or less to be kept in single-family residences in unincorporated areas of the county.
Hawley called Schubert and told her about the vote Monday and said she could bring the pig back home six weeks ahead of time. The ordinance will be in effect 30 days after the final vote.
"I don't see any reason to wait until the ordinance passes," he said, referring to the month waiting period before the law takes effect.
But all isn't as easily forgotten for Black Jack, who didn't know why he had to leave the home he grew up in and was angry when Schubert arrived to pick him up.
"He was really (mad) at me," Schubert said. "I put in all new lawn for him and now he is rooting it."
In May, Schubert urged the council to look at the legalization of potbellied pigs after city code enforcement officers ordered her to get rid of Black Jack and another pig because they violated city laws making it illegal to keep farm animals in a residential area.
An acquaintance of Schubert reported her to city officials.
"I didn't want to move and I got a lot of calls from other people who had pigs and didn't want to speak up," Schubert said. "No one really knows that it is OK to keep them yet."
A friend of Schubert's who lives in a rural area of Kern County kept Black Jack until Lancaster officials allowed him to return home.