Special swine guest tries to sway Zoning Board

Supporters of miniature pigs in Santa Rosa County gained a victory last night after the Zoning Board voted 5 to 1 to recommend approval of allowing the pigs in subdivisions. They got a little help from a special guest.

Zoning Board member James Calkins feeds lettuce to Delia, an 8 month old miniature pig, during the Sept. 13 zoning board meeting.

Currently, all pigs are considered livestock under county ordinance. While residents may have a pet pig on residential property, the law does not allow them in platted subdivisions.

Under the proposed Land Development Code change, property owners would be allowed to have two “miniature pigs” per dwelling unit in platted subdivisions. Because no specific breed distinctions exist and cross breeding is common, the proposed ordinance defines “miniature pigs” as any that are less than 24 inches tall. The law would also require the pigs to be spayed and neutered.

Jeff Briggs spoke in favor of the ordinance explaining that his two pet pigs, which are currently kept in violation of the Land Development Code, are pets, not livestock. Members of Florida Animal Advocates also spoke at the meeting discussing some of the pigs they have rescued over the years and the specific distinctions of pets versus livestock.

Aiding in the argument was Delia, an 8 month old mini pig currently living in Alabama. Delia made history as the first pig to walk the halls of the Santa Rosa County offices according to Planning and Zoning Director Shawn Ward. During a break in the meeting, Zoning Board member James Calkins and Chairman Don Richards met Delia up close.

Not everyone in attendance was in support of the ordinance. Bob Morrow currently lives behind the Briggs’ property with the two pigs in violation of the code. Morrow argued that allowing the pigs would impact his quality of life. He also questioned who would enforce the stipulations of the code.

“The nuisance ordinance has not been enforced. It’s never been enforced…Who’s going to go out there and check that they are spayed and neutered?” he said.

He argued that if people wanted to have these pigs, they should move to property where they are already allowed.

Zoning Board member Charles Lloyd also did not support the ordinance change, voting as the lone ‘deny’ vote.

The Zoning Board’s recommendation will go before the Board of County Commissioners Sept. 27 for a final vote. If approved the Briggs and others would be allowed to keep their pets. The hearing on the pig ordinance will be held at 6 p.m. in Santa Rosa County Administrative Center Board Room at 6495 Caroline Street in Milton.

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