When is a pig part of the family? According to the Alabama Supreme Court, when the animal is a “potbellied porcine pet” which the owner loves. The pig lover was brought to trial by neighbors claiming the pig, Taylor, violated neighborhood prohibitions against livestock. The court cited precedent that held that Vietnamese potbellied pigs are clearly not meant to be eaten like livestock, and all doubts and ambiguities in a restrictive covenant must be resolved against the party seeking enforcement. According to the court, this was not a case in which a family is treating a farm animal like a pet, such as Arnold, the pig of television’s Green Acres fame.
According to the pig’s owner, Vietnamese potbellied pigs are raised in the United States to be pets, not livestock. Their pedigrees are maintained, and purebred potbellies can be registered like thoroughbred dogs. The owner submitted to the court a videotape, “A Day in the Life of Taylor,” which shows the pig walking around the house, going up and down the stairs, eating her treats, getting her belly scratched, and doing tricks like sitting on command and performing “some sort of pig dance.” Taylor is even housebroken and has an igloo-shaped doghouse lined with handmade afghans, but apparently she sleeps indoors at night in her own bedroom. In a triumph for visual aids, the court stated, “Neighborhood dogs can be heard barking in the background of the tape, but with the exception of an oink, oink here and an oink, oink there, Taylor is quiet. There does not appear to be a rambunctious bone in her body.”
Certainly not the first case where an appellate court had to deal with piggish behavior, it is one of the few cases where the court seemed to have no trouble finding in favor of the pig.