Response to Save Eli the Pig Group
There have been a number of posts on Facebook about Eli the Pig.
In March 2014, a bylaw complaint came forward to Administration against a resident who had a pot belly pig (Eli) living in their home. This complaint was made because a pot belly pig is considered livestock and under the County’s Animal Control Bylaw not permitted to live within the urban boundary.
There has been a great deal of discussion about the pig’s status as a pet, and as a therapy animal, neither of which we question. At the end of the day; however, he is still a member of the pig family and is subject to the same municipal bylaws and provincial Acts as other pigs. In addition, Strathcona County has found no examples of municipalities in the region that issue special permits to residents to house pigs in residential areas.
Housing a pig in Sherwood Park also compromises our urban community standards and the reasonable expectations of those moving into an urban setting. In order to maintain the integrity of the Animal Control Bylaw, exemptions are not possible.
There are several options available within Strathcona County, outside of Sherwood Park, for the safe housing of a pot-belly pig. We are ready and willing to work with the owner to find a suitable rural home. In addition, we understand that the Rescue and Sanctuary for Threatened Animals has offered to provide a home for Eli.
With bylaws, what makes sense for one person, doesn’t make sense for another and as a Council we must decide how the bylaw effects all residents.
I do have great sympathy for the family, especially the kids involved. I have a great love of animals and know the incredible impact they can have on the lives of people. As elected officials, we feel empathy and experience constant tension – trying to balance the request for exemptions and supporting the bylaws and regulations of our municipality which are created by Council for the greater good of the community. Bylaws are created to ensure public health, to protect the environment, private and public property, maintain orderly appearance and protect the interests of the community as a whole. And that was the case here.