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Their Home Is Hog Heaven

Planning Commission to Look at Ordinance

GM Today
May 11, 2001

Mukwonago - Tracy Zettelmeier wants to know which neighbor ratted her pigs out. She said her three potbelly pigs - all neutered and spayed - are her pets and she'd be devastated if she was forced to give them up.

But Zettelmeier is a resident in the town of Mukwonago, where an ordinance says a resident must have at least 20 acres to own even one pig. Zettelmeier lives on five acres.

"He's a big baby...yes he is," she said, petting the belly of the 98 pound pig Harley.

Zettelmeier jokingly confessed that along with the pigs, she owns two hogs.

"They're in the garage," she said about her motorcycles.

But her pot belly pigs don't smell, they live in a clean, fenced-in area and make little to no noise.

"This is like someone saying, 'You have to get rid of your dogs,'" Zettelmeier said.

The topic was on the town board's agenda Wednesday.

Zettelmeier said she made sure her pigs were in the clear prior to owning them. She said she checked with the town prior to acquiring the pigs and was informed that male goats and cows were the only animals off limits.

Tom Stuart, the town chairman, said the situation is an example of misinformation and that he was hesitant to make a variance to the ordinance.

Regardless whether the pigs are pets, he said, "We have a complaint."

A complaint that caused some confusion.

"How do address a situation like this?" said town Supervisor Jay Ross.

Town Attorney John Macy said the issue is not a new one. He said other communities have ordinances that deal with nontraditional pets. The plan commission will review such ordinances, Macy said.

He said the process of gathering information, reviewing it, holding public hearings and finally making a recommendation could take four to six months. The longer the process is drawn out, he said, the more the Zettelmeier's fine would increase.

Zettelmeier said she did her own research and found that hair bearing animals, such as minks, raccoons and rabbits, are also not allowed as pets.

"Now, how many people in Mukwonago have rabbits?" she said.

Zettelmeier has yet to find which one of her neighbors on Milo's Way made the complaint that stirred up the town's ordinance on pets.

"I wish they'd just leave me alone," she said. But if they don't and and she's forced to get rid of the pigs, Zettelmeier said, "I don't know what I'm going to do."

By Tracy Marhal

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