YPSILANTI, Mich. - A judge has ordered a southeastern Michigan family to remove three of their four potbellied pigs from their rental home.
Stephanie Rowland, 38, went to court earlier this year to fight a citation that called for the pigs’ removal after a neighbor filed a complaint in August. The city’s ordinance prohibits livestock.
Rowland argued that the pigs provide emotional support and medical assistance, and can be kept at the home under the Fair Housing Act. One of the pigs is trained to respond to seizures and low blood sugar, she said.
Judge Kirk W. Tabbey ruled Wednesday that Rowland must remove three of the pigs by April 18 because the law only covers one animal.
“I found nothing under the law that allows more than one animal for one person,” he said. “It would be unprecedented to allow that.”
Tabbey ordered the city to investigate and find reasonable accommodation for the fourth pig.
The family plans to find a short-term home for the pigs while looking for a larger home they can all live in.
“It was a complete surprise,” Rowland said of the ruling. “The pigs do therapy work and educational programs and stuff like that. The goal is to move (before April 18) or move as soon as possible after that.”
Rowland and her husband Jeffery, 42, moved into the rental residence in September 2016. They live in the home with their six-month old child and a friend, Benny Danovi, 47. Three of Danovi’s children also live in the home part-time.
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