FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Eureka Springs has decided to enforce a 1952 ordinance banning livestock in the city.That includes pot-bellied pigs, otherwise known as American mini-pigs.
In June, the City Council voted 4-2 to enforce the 67-year-old law.
“The keeping of cattle, swine, horses, sheep and goats within the city limits of the city of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, creates a hazard for the peace, health and safety of the citizens,” according to the ordinance.
Someone convicted of keeping livestock in the city could be fined between $5 and $100 for the first offense and as much as $250 a day after, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.
The decision to enforce Ordinance 772 of 1952 could have dire consequences for Fat Boy and Miss Piggy, two pigs owned by Marilyn Sloas, who lives on Kingshighway in Eureka Springs.
Last fall, Alderman Mickey Schneider drafted a proposal allowing people who already own pigs in the city to keep them for several years.
But things were put on hold until a recent Monday, and the council voted instead to enforce the law banning livestock in the city altogether.
“Eureka being what it is, to avoid a citywide protest, I would highly suggest that this gets put before the people to make a decision in November,” Schneider told the council.
She said 90% of the people she talked to said “leave the pigs alone.”
“This has just blindsided us,” Sloas said. “They’re not hurting anybody’s business. They’re my fur babies.”
During Monday’s meeting, Alderman Terry McClung said one of the pigs in question weighs about 200 pounds, so he thinks “mini-pig” might be a misnomer.
“How can you qualify a 200-pound pig as a mini-pig?” he asked. “Beats the heck out of me.”
Sloas said Fat Boy weighs about 110 pounds and Miss Piggy weighs about 270 pounds.
Schneider told the council American mini-pigs are bred and raised to be pets, not for food, so they aren’t livestock regardless of how much they weigh.
Alderman Bob Thomas said the 1952 ordinance bans “swine” in the city.
“Big piggies and little piggies are all swine, and they were all outlawed in 1952,” he told the council.
“This means that they’re taking them away,” Sloas said of Monday’s vote.
She’s considering circulating a petition asking she be allowed to keep her pigs in town.
Mayor Robert “Butch” Berry said he agreed with a comment one of the council members made during the meeting.
“I have agree with whoever said making a city law for one person probably is not the right thing to do,” Berry said Thursday. “That’s not the reason you make laws, to benefit just one person.”
Schneider said she wasn’t proposing a law for just one person; she was trying to update city code to include a type of pet pig unknown to Eureka Springs in 1952.
Berry said the City Council was aware of the 1952 ordinance when this discussion began last year.
“We didn’t enforce it because I was under the impression we were going to write an ordinance letting these people keep their pot-bellied pigs until 2022 or whenever they die,” Berry said Thursday.
The proposal Schneider supported would have allowed Sloas’ pigs to remain in the city until 2030 or until they died of natural causes.
During a council comment period at the end of a recent Monday meeting, Schneider expressed her disappointment with the vote.
“You are going to have a huge protest,” she said. “If you don’t have the nerve to put this to a vote of the people, you best better be prepared for the fallout you’re gonna get.”
Schneider pointed at Sloas in the gallery of The Auditorium.
“That’s her babies,” she said of Fat Boy and Miss Piggy. “And you’re saying ‘I don’t like you’re kind of babies. Screw ’em. That’s what you’re doing. You try to enforce this, Butch, and I guarantee your ass is out.”