Local News

Pig Owners In Durham Rally Around Dixie

Posted July 25, 2003 11:56 a.m. EDT

— A pot-bellied pig is causing quite a stir.

A zoning committee turned down a request to exempt the pig named "Dixie" from an ordinance that bans livestock within Durham city limits. Now, the City Council is on the case.

Dixie's owners hope Durham will change its pet ordinance. In April, the city told Jeff and Amy Eichorn their pig was livestock and, therefore, illegal. So the Eichorns brought Dixie's case before the City Council.

Pot-bellied pigs are the only livestock animal considered a domestic pet by the U.S. Agriculture Department.

Dixie doesn't bark and rarely squeals. She even has house privileges that the family dog doesn't enjoy. But someone complained about the pot-bellied pig. And, since April, the Eichorns looked for support from neighbors, so they'd be ready for Thursday's City Council hearing.

"Since then, we've collected over 175 signatures from Durham residents in favor of this ordinance," Jeff Eichorn said.

Jeff is not just fighting for Dixie. He has discovered there are other pot-bellied pig owners in Durham.

"These 20 or more families are completely unknown to the city," Eichorn said. "It is an indication of how well these animals integrate into a residential area."

The Planning Department and Zoning Committee have already recommended denial. But the final word won't come from the council until August 4.

Meanwhile, the Eichorns, expecting a second child soon, are holding off on decorating the nursery.

Raleigh and Concord are two cities that have amended ordinances... allowing pot-bellied pigs as pets. If Durham decides to buck the pig-friendly trend, the Eichorns will move to another part of Dixie, for Dixie's sake.

"To pick up and move from the city would be the last thing we want to do," Eichorn said. "But it still wouldn't be as difficult as parting with our pet."