LEAGUE CITY, Texas -- Despite opposition from several members of the public, League City City Council is on its way to allowing residents to keep pigs as pets.
At its April 26 meeting, City Council passed the first reading of an ordinance update that would allow residents to keep up to four pigs as pets within their homes. Approval of the second reading at a later meeting is required before the ordinance update becomes official.
Under the ordinance, pigs would be required to be vaccinated, microchipped and spayed or neutered. They would also be required to stay inside except to exercise or eliminate waste, and their outdoor quarters would require daily cleaning as well as security to prevent pigs from escaping.
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Many residents spoke against the ordinance update outright, or at least as it was written. Speakers expressed concerns with the pigs growing to hundreds of pounds, having sharp tusks, not being able to be caught by animal control officers if they escaped, damage to people and property as well as other concerns.
Mayor Pat Hallisey said he needed more information and national data on pigs as pets before he could approve the ordinance update. He requested the city provide such data before the second reading.
Councilmember Chad Tressler-who, with Councilmember Hank Dugie, brought the ordinance update before City Council-countered several of residents' concerns.
Tressler said when it comes to a pig's size, that should be no one's concern but the owner. Tressler said he does not want a large pig in his house, but other residents may not mind, as some residents do not mind keeping huge dogs as pets.
"I don't think the city needs to be involved making that decision for folks," he said.
One resident suggested the city put a size limit on pigs allowed to be kept as pets. Tressler said that would lead to situations where the city would have to separate beloved pigs from their families because there is no reliable way to tell how big a pig might grow.
Tressler said while the government's role is to protect citizens, that does not mean it is the government's role to protect citizens from themselves. He said that if residents want to get a pig and are injured by it, that is a risk they took on themselves.
Councilmember Larry Millican also was opposed to approving the ordinance update without more data.
Millican said that while some on the council are in favor of liberty for residents, there are reasons speed limits and laws to wear helmets and seatbelts exist. He said he believes there are places in society where government needs to be conscious about the desires of all residents-not just the people who want pigs as pets but those who do not as well.
Councilmember Hank Dugie said the city already has laws in place for nuisances and damage if that occurs due to pigs, and he was therefore in favor of the ordinance update.
"I trust the people of League City to be good neighbors," he said.
Councilmember Andy Mann clarified that even if the city allows pigs as pets, that does not mean every neighborhood would. Some homeowner associations might be more restrictive than the city and not allow pets, Mann said.
A motion to postpone a decision on the ordinance update failed 4-4. The first reading to update the ordinance to allow pigs as pets passed 6-2 with Hallisey and Millican opposed.
This article comes from our partners at Community Impact Newspaper.