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Trustees Stand Pat on Pig Stance

February, 2003

A Hinsdale woman's second attempt to convince village trustees that she should be allowed to keep her two potbelly pigs as pets failed Feb. 4.

Dawn McCarthy Brandt begged trustees to change or make an exception to the 1974 village law that prohibits residents from keeping pigs.

"Come on, they're my pets," Brandt said. "I'm not bothering anybody."

Trustee William Blomquist suggested the village "grandfather Brandt's pigs," exempting them from the law, but the motion failed by a 4-2 vote with only Blomquist and Elizabeth Barrow voting yes.

"They're my kid's pets," Brandt said. "Yes, a pig isn't what you'd take as a pet, but I wouldn't take a poodle."

Last summer, a neighbor reported to village officials that she had seen a pig in Brandt's yard at 129 S. Adams St. Officials later learned Brandt had two potbelly pigs, Cza Cza and Petunia.

Brandt hired an attorney to help her seek a change in the law, but, in October, trustees decided to keep the law in place.

Brandt returned to the board last month, arguing that potbelly pigs are classified as pets, not as livestock as the village ordinance defined. She argued that the law, written in 1974, couldn't refer to potbelly pigs because they weren't introduced to this country until 1986.

Brandt has been cited for keeping illegal pets, and she is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday, Feb. 18. She and village officials will await the judge's decision. A guilty finding could result in a $750 fine.

Brandt said she doesn't know what she will do if she is forced to find a new home for her pets. She's had Cza Cza for eight years and Petunia for almost four years.

Brandt said her fight to keep the pigs has drained her and she thinks her pets sense the emotional strain, as they act withdrawn and lethargic.

Brandt said she's afraid if she tries to move the pigs to a new location, the experience will be so traumatic that they will become sick or die.

By Melissa Rubalcaba
Suburban Life

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