Animal Law

Wilbur the Pig Is a Household Pet, Judge Rules; Community Association Can't Evict Him


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Wilbur the pig is a household pet, a Texas judge ruled Monday, in a finding that prevents the porker’s family from having to find a new home for him.

Potbellied Vietnamese pigs like Wilbur are routinely kept as pets, Harris County District Judge Mike Engelhart found, in a decision greeted with relief by his tearful owners. Attorney Mitchell Katine, who represents the pig’s family, had argued that the animals are not livestock because they are not routinely raised for food, fiber or farm labor, according to the Houston Chronicle and a joint report by KHOU and CNN.

“Sometimes associations go too far and this time we feel that they did and we’re very pleased with the court’s ruling today. I’m very happy I helped keep this family together,” said Katine. He said he is not aware of another such court ruling recognizing a pig as a household pet.

Attorney Mark Rabe represents the Thicket at Cypresswood Community Improvement Association, which sent Alessandro and Lee Ann Sardo a letter (PDF) in April 2011 contending that they had violated a deed restriction prohibiting livestock. He declined to comment when contacted by the newspaper.

A Facebook page for Wilbur provides additional information about the yearlong legal saga and KHOU provides a photo gallery of Wilbur at home in Spring. He appears to spend much of his time sleeping, hanging out with the family’s dog and focusing on food.

The Sardos reportedly plan to give him a special treat of strawberries in celebration of the courtroom victory.

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