A former animal control officer is now fighting with the city of Linwood, Kansas, for a family pet — a pet pot-bellied pig.
His name is Dude and he's a six-year-old Juliana pot-bellied pig. He's the newest member of Bailey Parker's menagerie at her home. He shares the yard with two ducks, four chickens, and occasionally the family's two dogs and cat.
"I talk to them all like they're my children. Like, this is my family," Parker said.
Dude even comes inside the house, too. Parker said he's more intelligent than her dogs, which the general public doesn't realize.
Parker adopted him a few months ago from a goat farm, where he wasn't getting the specific care he needed.
According to the city, Dude is livestock and not allowed inside city limits.
"I would have never brought him in if I thought he was livestock or swine. A pot-bellied pig is not livestock," Parker said.
She's asking the city to amend the ordinance or have the city issue her a special permit. The city refused a few months ago, but Parker and her attorneys returned to the city council meeting on Dec. 17.
The city again denied the request and now Parker's attorneys, Tristen Woods and Lauren Kruskall, are taking the city to court in January. If they lose a bench trial, Woods said, they will take it further to a jury trial in Leavenworth County.
"At some point, we felt as a city we have to draw the line somewhere, otherwise you're going to start seeing people with horses and cows and sheep and everything else saying they're pets," said Brian Christenson, mayor of Linwood.
Christenson said he's not against the pig, but laws are laws. The city recently amended the same animal control ordinance to allow pit bulls and chickens, of which Christenson said Parker has taken advantage.
"The biggest problem we have, we don't have the resources, the animal control, all the things we would have to start adding these exotic animals," Christenson said.
Not long after Parker adopted him, Dude got out of the yard and wandered to the park across the street because her kids accidentally left the fence open. Christenson said it took four people two hours to wrangle the pig, but Parker said it wasn't a big deal and she has since made provisions to prevent it from happening again.
"We don't have animal control officers. We don't know what kind of medicines [pigs] have, what shots they're supposed to have," said Christenson. "It's just more work added that we'd have to do."
Parker said Dude is well taken care of and isn't a nuisance.
"If I have the means to give them something, I want to be able to help them and I don’t think I should be told what I can and can’t have in my backyard," said Parker.
Parker has gathered around 50 signatures on a permit from people who support her request.
Nearby DeSoto, Kansas, allows pot-bellied pigs as pets. Kansas City, Missouri, allows pot-bellied pigs, too.
Bonner Springs doesn't have any language on the books about pot-bellied pigs, but the city council is taking up the topic at its next meeting on Jan. 13. Eudora and Olathe don't have language on pot-bellied pigs, either. In Shawnee and Olathe, pot-bellied pig owners need a special animal permit.