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Provo residents peeved over pig problem

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Posted at 7:20 PM, Aug 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-25 21:20:46-04

PROVO, Utah – A group of residents in Provo say they’re upset about dozens of pigs on a hobby farm escaping their pens, getting into their yards and ruining their gardens. Animal control says they've been asking the owner to find a way to keep his animals contained for more than a year.

Hobby farmer and Provo resident Matt Baker keeps pigs, chickens and turkeys on his hobby farm. He built it two years ago next to already existing homes in a residential community.

But cell phone video shows what residents have been dealing with the past year and a half.

“I’ve had pigs in my garden, I’ve had pigs bend over trees, rip up flowers, dig up my drip line in my garden, break sprinklers, break screens on my windows, screens on my sliding glass door, chase my children,” said Angela Puertas, who lives next door to the farm.

Pigs are escaping their pens and creating havoc in the community.

“When he moved in and put the animals up, for the perimeter fencing, he relied on the residential chain link fence that was installed when the neighborhood was put in. It’s not livestock proof fence,” said another neighbor Shelley Beagley.

Animal Control reports residents have made 50 calls about problems with the farm in the past year.

“Obviously, the neighbors are really frustrated,” said Lt. Brandon Post with the Provo Police Department. “But he’s a property owner. And being a property owner comes with and should come with certain rights. That area is zoned for livestock and therein lies a lot of the complication and issues with the problem.”

Baker has 14 citations pending in court from previous incidents and 80 from over the weekend.  Provo police said they have asked Baker multiple times to find a way to keep his pigs from escaping.

“Over the past year, we’ve seized pigs, chickens, turkeys. We’ve taken them to the animal shelter,” Post said. “The process from there has been he responds to the animal shelter, pays a fine and then puts the animal back in the original location, causing a problem to endure.”

FOX 13’s calls to Baker were not immediately returned Tuesday. Residents say they hope the city steps in and forces Baker to do something about the problem.

“We don’t want to move,” Beagley said. “I don’t know if we could move. We recently refinanced our home, and right off the top, we were dinged $5,000 on the appraisal because of the smell. It says it right on the paperwork: $5,000. So, it’s affecting all of our property values.”

Baker is facing 80 violations and will now be going to court. Post says he could lose privileges of keeping animals on the property, face greater fines or lose his farm altogether.