An Ottawa couple is hoping the city will change a bylaw to let them keep their pet—a 13 month-old micro tea cup pot bellied pig named Bella, who likes nachos, slow walks and lying in the sun.

“Full grown, she’s like a medium-sized dog,” said her owner Christian Laurin. “She’s fully house trained, we walk her like any dog.”

Laurin and his fiancé Lisa Meeds are trying to fight a bylaw order to get rid of Bella or move outside of the city limits. Swine, including micro pigs, are considered “livestock” by the city and it is against a bylaw to keep livestock in residential zones.

Laurin argues Bella doesn't fit the definition of livestock, because she isn't raised to do work or be eaten‹she’s just loved as a pet.

 

Bylaw complainants aren’t named, but the couple believes the initial complaint came from a neighbour.

“It all started because of one vindictive neighbour who keeps calling bylaw on everybody,” said Laurin. “It wasn’t that the pig was a nuisance, destroyed property, or we didn’t pick up after her, it was just that we had one.”

Laurin and Meeds say they don't use a leash when they walk Bella—but she's a slow mover who keeps right by their side.

They are fighting the order in court and have been given time to lobby City Hall to change the livestock bylaw to make an exception for micro pigs. Bella’s vet and other neighbours have written letters of support about the good care she receives.

They’ve contacted their city councillor, Peter Hume, but a member of his office staff said they couldn’t help, said Meeds. “She said, “The best thing you can do is get rid of her.’”

Bella’s situation isn’t life or death.

“We’d move before getting rid of her,” said Laurin. “We’d move outside of the city limits.”

Hume was not immediately available for comment.

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