Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Pig In Herndon?

We humans could learn a lesson well taught
By porkers in general who give us this thought.
A laugh a day, a clear conscience at night,
A slight forgiven, a wrong made right.
These things so easy for our porcine friends,
Seem to be hard lessons learned for mortal men.
In this season of Christmas, love and light,
Should we not try harder to do things right?

Phyllis Battoe, 1994
Published at
Propects look good for Bridgette Suder to keep Bacon, in spite of Herndon's zoning laws, which forbid the keeping of swine within the town limits. She recently received a six-month continuance, during which time the Herndon Town Council will contemplate a change in the zoning law. Possibly the above poem, submitted by Ms. Suder to the town council at an end-of-the-year hearing, has something to do with the granting of the continuance.

Bacon is, of course, a potbellied pig. From the January 29, 2007 Washington Post article "Home Is Where Her Hog Is":
Potbellied pigs, originally bred in Vietnam and imported to the United States from Canada, are considerably smaller than their factory farm cousins, which can reach 1,500 pounds. They enjoyed a brief vogue as domestic pets in the 1980s, and several localities, including Seattle and Colorado Springs, have made exceptions for them. Fairfax County does not expressly forbid pigs but requires a residential lot of at least two acres.
Ms. Suder, however, has done her research and is counting on a precedent set by the town council a few years ago:
[S]he looked at Virginia law, which indicates that if Bacon is not destined to be bacon, or otherwise sold for profit, she qualifies as a "companion animal." Herndon's zoning code also revealed an interesting exception. It bars town residents from keeping "more than one female fowl." Officials said that when the Town Council was getting ready a few years ago to crack down on people keeping chickens, roosters and geese, a little girl with tears in her eyes showed up at a hearing to plead for her pet duck, Gertie.

Thus was the Gertie amendment drafted into town law. Suder thinks there's also room for the Bacon exception.
Most of Ms. Suder's neighbors are supporting her efforts to keep Bacon, and it remains a mystery as to which neighbor filed a complaint:
...[M]ost neighbors say they have no objection to Bacon. In fact, after two noisy dogs owned by the house's previous occupant, some consider her an upgrade.

"Most of us were happy to see the pig," said Chris Smith, who has lived on Bowers Lane for 20 years. "We had visions of Arnold from 'Green Acres,' but she's pretty sweet. We hardly ever see her, to tell you the truth."

Bacon leads a good life with Ms. Suder:
She shares the rented ranch home with Bacon, a new boyfriend, an over-caffeinated Jack Russell terrier named Willie and two ferrets. Everybody seems to get along.

Despite some robust snoring, Bacon sleeps in a well-cushioned corner of the bedroom. Her diet is surprisingly light: one cup a day of special food "for less active adult pigs," as the package says, although she gets scones as an occasional treat. Bacon is litter-box trained, Suder said, but prefers the back yard, where she stays. Suder doesn't walk her.
Ms. Suder might just get that zoning exception. After all, the town council made an exception for pet duck Gertie, with the one-female-fowl rule.

I wonder who that complaining neighbor was. As far as I can tell from the article, Ms. Suder's landlord is not complaining. Could it be that Bacon offended a Muslim neighbor's sensibilities? Pure speculation on my part. The newspaper article gives no information as to the identity of the complainant.

Ms. Suder loves Herndon and wants to stay there. As stated in the article,
I love the town, and I'd like to stay here," she said, but not without her pig. "They know I'm gung-ho about it."

Bookmark and Share
posted by Always On Watch @ 1/30/2007 07:00:00 AM