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Pig pandemonium - decision deferred for Chesterfield indoor pig

Published: Nov. 20, 2014 at 2:02 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 30, 2014 at 5:45 AM EST
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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Steadfast swine supporters failed to persuade the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors to let a 150 lb. pig remain with his owners Wednesday, as the Board took no action and deferred its decision to mid-January 2015.

Brandermill residents Mark and Kim Johnson will learn Jan. 14 if their pet pig, Tucker, is allowed to remain in their home. The Johnsons are asking for a conditional use permit, allowing their kunekune pig to stay indoors.

According to Chesterfield ordinances, Tucker is considered livestock and cannot remain in residential Brandermill.

"Hopefully I can get some people from the County to come to our house to see how we live," said Mark Johnson in an interview Wednesday. "You know, it's better than a denial."

During Wednesday's public comment portion of the decision-making process, 19 members of the community expressed their support for Tucker to remain with his family. Four people said the pig did not belong in the area.

Johnson noted how he has certified Tucker as an emotional support animal through the National Service Animal Registry. As he stood before the Board, Johnson described how he turns to the comfort of his pet, rather than relying on medication, after the sudden death of his 17-month-old child.

"I don't want to be one of those people on medication for the rest of my life," Johnson said. "My 17-month-old died in my arms... I have flashbacks, high anxiety."

Opponents implored Chesterfield leaders to deny the family's request, asserting that it could set a precedent for farm animals to be kept as pets in subdivisions across the County.

The Board of Supervisors will meet Jan. 14 at 3 p.m. to make a final decision on the issue.

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