Ellie the potbellied pig snuggles up when he watches TV and sometimes rolls over to let him pet her belly. The 110-pounds is "family" says Wyverne Flatt the pet's owner. He claims Ellie is an emotional support animal who helped him through a divorce and the death of his mother.
The officials of his upstate village of Canajoharie see it very differently. To them the pig is a farm animal and Flatt is harboring in the village illegally. The case may soon be headed to a criminal trial. Pig partisans believe the animal should be treated with more respect. They shouldn't be thought of as food.
According to Huffington Puff Ellis is a knee-high Vietnamese potbellied pig with a black coat and hooves that clack on the floor as she walks from her kitchen food dish. Flatt was living in South Carolina when he got the pig in 2018, when she was about as big as a shoe. She came north with Flatt in 2019. A village code officer told Flatt he was housing Ellie illegally in October 2019 during a visit for a building permit request. When the village noticed he was violating the local code barring farm animal in the village. Violation of zoning code is a misdemeanor under state law.
"I could never dream of giving away somebody who's part of my family. She is very smart. She is more intelligent than my dogs. I think she can kind of hone in on you when you're feeling bad because she'll want to come in and snuggle with you." said Flatt
Flatt says the village is picking on his pig. The village claims the pig is a potential public health hazard.
Flat said he has received offers from people to house Ellie outside the village, but he wants to fight to keep her.
"I'm hoping this sets a precedent that people start understanfing that there are pets. These are not something you go home, slaughter and eat." said Flatt.