This Little Piggy is a Pet, Court Rules

Article Placeholder Image
By Edward Tan, JD on May 09, 2012 6:57 AM

One little piggy is going to be able to continue crying "wee wee wee" all the way to its Houston home. A Texas judge has ruled that the pig is a pet, the San Antonio Express-News reports.

The battle over Wilbur the pig began when Alex Sardo gave his wife, Missy, the then-7-week-old Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. But when the couple's homeowners association found out, they wanted the piglet out. Cypresswood Community Improvement Association sent a letter to the Sardo family stating they had 30 days to get rid of it or face a lawsuit.

The family sued instead, insisting Wilbur was a pet. And a Harris County district judge agreed, but not entirely for the reasons you'd expect.

The HOA argued that under its guidelines, only "common" and "traditional" pets were allowed. But based on the evidence, the court ruled that Wilbur's breed wasn't meant for commercial purposes and was indeed a pet.

The court further stated that the issue wasn't just about what is and isn't a pet, but rather the amount of control HOAs can assert over residents.

Community covenants generally include noise and pet restrictions. Typically, many prohibit exotic animals from being kept and restrict excessive noise during usual bedtimes. Many municipalities also have similar laws.

Generally, violators can be cited with fines if they don't comply. And as the HOA's actions against the Sardo family shows, injunctive action is also possible.

Wilbur the pig gained national attention after the Sardo family set up a Facebook page detailing the piggy's saga. And following a Texas court's ruling that the pig is a pet, it looks like their efforts paid off.

Related Resources: