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Potbelly pig’s as household pets? One Layton woman’s mission to make it happen

Posted at 6:46 PM, Nov 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-06 20:46:02-05

LAYTON, Utah – A woman in Layton is trying to change the laws when it comes to household pets, presenting an amendment to the city to add potbelly pigs to the list alongside cats and dogs.

Bebop is a hundred-pound Vietnamese Potbelly Pig.

“You want that?” said Layton resident, Justine Needham as she fed Bebop an apple.

But to Justine, this little piggy is so much more than a pig, he is her pet and emotional support animal.

“He’s smarter than a dog,” said Justine. “He has more of a personality, he has lots of different grunts that mean different things.”

“He can sit, spin, lay down, he comes in, he sleeps inside,” said Justine.

With all the bananas, apples and eggs he can eat, this swine is living fine here in Layton.

“He’s spoiled rotten,” Justine laughed.

He even has his own house.

“It’s the bop shop,” said Justine. “This is his house if he’s outside and it’s cold, otherwise he comes right on in and sleeps in my bedroom.”

Justine got Bebop just before she moved to Layton two years ago.

“He was in really bad shape, had abscessed hooves, cuts all over him, was severely neglected, underweight, it was pretty awful,” she said.

Now, he’s just like any other pet -- he’s neutered, microchipped, potty trained, does tricks, can be walked on a leash and is a registered emotional support animal.

“I have PTSD, anxiety, ADHD and severe depression,” Justine said. “Just being around him, being able to pet him, that has helped significantly.”

However, if you ask the city of Layton, Bebop isn’t a pet – he’s livestock. As city ordinance stands, he is only legally allowed to be kept in agricultural or residential suburban zones with a minimum lot size of 20-thousand square feet.

“We were not aware,” said Justine.

Justine said, based on changing regulations and laws in communities across the state, she did not believe Bebop would be an issue.

The Layton City Council put together a chart comparing the codes and ordinances of other communities in Davis County and along the Wasatch Front, potbelly pigs are permitted in the majority.