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Durham Family May Move To Save Beloved Pet

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DURHAM, N.C. — Dixie is a pig of privilege who prefers carrots and air conditioning over slop and sunshine. But, according to city ordinance, Dixie is livestock, not a domestic pet, and her family may be forced to move.

In early February, the zoning department issued a violation notice to Jeff Eichorn and his wife, Amy Rountree. They said neighbors have never complained about Dixie.

"They seem to love her. She's quite a novelty around here," Eichorn said.

Before they bought their west Durham home, Eichorn and Rountree said they checked with animal control to make sure pot-bellied pigs were legal.

"We chose where we were going to live based on having this pet," Rountree said.

There is a chance that Dixie can stay. Eichorn and Rountree appealed the case.

"We're trying to get her exempted or pot-bellied pigs in general exempted from the livestock classification and get her classified as a domestic pet," Eichorn said.

In July 2000, pot-bellied pig owners convinced Raleigh city leaders to allow animals under a certain height and weight, but if Durham leaders differ, Dixie cannot stay unless the owners pay a $300-a-day fine.

"She's part of the family so parting with her is not an option for us," Rountree said.

"Even though we love the neighborhood and we love the area, we would definitely move," Eichorn said.

Durham's city zoning committee will consider the pot-bellied pig issue in June. Their recommendation will come before the City Council in August. Until then, Dixie can stay.


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