State News

Fayetteville family fighting to keep potbellied pig as a pet

Posted August 1, 2009 11:40 a.m. EDT
Updated May 17, 2010 8:24 p.m. EDT

— A Fayetteville family is fighting a city ban against their 1-year-old potbellied pig, saying Loopey is therapeutic for their autistic son.

Lisa Pia said her 8-year-old son Anthony, who doesn't like dogs, instantly connected with Loopey when they brought the piglet home.

Loopey, now a year old and 85 pounds, had a shelter in the back yard of their College Lakes home. At night, he slept on a pillow in Anthony's room.

“When he comes home from school, she’s the first thing he sees and wants to be with,” Lisa Pia said.

The Fayetteville Observer reported Saturday that the Pias were forced to return Loopey to the ranch where they bought her after city inspectors informed them pigs are banned from city limits.

Anthony’s father, Bobby Pia, said he hopes the city will make an exception for his family. “It’s about a family wanting to keep a pet pig that is improving the quality of life for their autistic child,” he said.

Lisa and Bobby Pia, who have four children, are asking Fayetteville City Council to rethink the ban and treat potbellied pigs like household pets or service animals for the disabled.

Councilman Keith Bates, who represents the Pia family, will ask city council Monday night to change the ordinance. If council approves, city staffers would change the ordinance and council would vote on it at a later date.