Family petitions after Chapel Hill says a pig can’t be a pet

Orange County News

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — Can a pig be a pet? Within the town limits of Chapel Hill, the answer is no. But a family wants to change that.

“You want to see the ducks?” Stephanie Freeman asked.

The Freeman’s front yard is impressive. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it grew to include all kinds of plants and smaller animals. Now they’re hoping to add a potbellied pig.

“I’m allergic to dogs, and I love animals and pigs are really smart and affectionate and they’re good pets,” Freeman said.

When they did their research, they learned a town ordinance in Chapel Hill banned all pigs on properties of less than four acres. They’re petitioning to have it changed. A spokesman for the town said they received it and that it would be considered.

“I’m mixed,” Anna O’Neal said about the law change.

O’Neal runs Jenna and Friends Animal Sanctuary. CBS 17 went to her for insight.

O’Neal rescues potbellied pigs and explains she moved into the county to be able to have the space to do it properly.

“They have to realize they’re going to destroy your trees. You have to have really proper fencing, you have to clean up, there’s a lot of scoping to do,” O’Neal said.

She also stressed the animals need companionship and to be around other pigs. Then there’s their size, they quickly grow to weigh more than 150 pounds.

“It’s hard to have all of those things inside city limits,” O’Neal said.

“We would like a pig, we have the yard to support it and the family. We’ve got five kids, so we’ve got plenty of attention to give them as well,” Freeman said.

The Chapel Hill mayor declined CBS 17’s request for an interview.

She said the request from the Freeman family is the first of its kind that she’s received and that would meet with the town attorney to discuss it Tuesday.

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