Archive for Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Some pigs: City allows potbellied swines as pets

Ehren Penix wants the city of Lawrence to change the city’s animal code to allow for potbellied pigs as pets, including the 70-pound Starky, who he says has formed a deep bond with him.

Ehren Penix wants the city of Lawrence to change the city’s animal code to allow for potbellied pigs as pets, including the 70-pound Starky, who he says has formed a deep bond with him.

January 18, 2012


Lawrence city commissioners — even the one who owns a barbecue restaurant — couldn’t resist granting mercy on this pig.

Commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting unanimously agreed to add potbellied pigs as an allowable pet under the city’s animal code.

On the street

Would you support a measure to allow potbellied pigs as pets?

I think so. They’re known to be good pets, I believe, but they can destroy yards. I don’t see an issue with it unless it infringes on neighbors.

More responses

The change came about after Lawrence resident Ehren Penix learned that his potbellied pig, Starky, wasn’t legal in the city.

“It was some of the worst news I could ever receive,” Penix said. “The thought of losing him was like losing a best friend. Please don’t send me home to tell Starky that the people of Lawrence don’t want him because nothing could be further from the truth.”

More than a dozen supporters of Starky, including a father and daughter who live next to the approximately 80-pound pig, showed up at City Hall to support the change in the animal code.

City commissioners said they largely couldn’t find a reason to disallow the animals, as long as a few regulations are followed. They include:

• Making it clear that even though the animals are allowable, an owner of a potbellied pig can still be cited under the city’s nuisance ordinance if issues of odor emerge.

• An owner would not be allowed to have more than one potbellied pig at a time.

• An owner must submit paperwork to the city from a veterinarian verifying that the pig is a potbellied variety rather than a more traditional livestock variety raised for food production. The city made it clear the potbellied pigs — while making jokes at City Commissioner Bob Schumm, who owns a downtown barbecue restaurant — should not be raised as a food source.

“I don’t know who the pig inspector is going to be, but making sure these are truly potbellied pigs will be pretty important,” City Commissioner Mike Dever said.

Potbellied pigs are generally smaller than traditional pigs, but some — like those owned by rural Franklin County resident Rhoda Paddock — can grow to 250 pounds or more. Commissioners had considered putting a weight limit on potbellied pigs that could be kept in the city limits but opted not to include such a regulation. Paddock said she did not believe neighboring residents would find the pets, which owners said prefer to be inside most of the time, objectionable.

“My pigs are potty-trained,” said Paddock, who lives in rural Franklin County. “They don’t bite. They don’t chase you. They just want love.”

City commissioners will finalize the new regulations in the coming weeks when a formal ordinance is presented for a vote.


Lawrence Morgan 6 years, 4 months ago

It's a good looking pig, Ehren Penix! I'm glad you got him approved.

oldvet 6 years, 4 months ago

What a great pet... when you get tired of them, bacon, ham, chops...

Ockhams_Razor 6 years, 4 months ago

And how about that eventual helicopter rifle shooting opportunity. I am sure the FOP will enjoy serving beer in the helicopter.

heyheymama 6 years, 4 months ago

why NOT raise animals as a food source??? thats stupid

sad_lawrencian 6 years, 4 months ago

"City allows potbellied swines as pets." One question: Why?

formerfarmer 6 years, 4 months ago

Obviously you didn't read the article. Who did you get to write the response?

Synjyn Smythe 6 years, 4 months ago

It had to happen. Otherwise, my wife would be justified in kicking me out!!

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

According to a recent study, dog owners live an average of 2.7 years longer than those who don't enjoy the companionship of a pet canine. Wonder how a pot-bellied pig rates on the increase longevity scale? Hey, as long as it makes you happy and doesn't harm anyone else, go for it.

labmonkey 6 years, 4 months ago

Should be a caption contest with the picture... "Look into my eyes, moi cherie."

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

GUFAWWWW..... glad you posted this in the evening rather than the morning. Spilling a scotch and water on one's lap is a little less painful than a hot cup of coffee.

blindrabbit 6 years, 4 months ago

potbellied shoats yes , Kobach swine not (nicht) even if he has purchased land in the County with intent to build.

amyhaakecreativ 6 years, 4 months ago

Great news, Lawrence. I am happy this man didn't have to give up his beloved pet pig.

veryveg 6 years, 4 months ago

The man says himself "they just want love". Just like any animal, all they need is a little compassion. How do we decide to treat some pigs with this sort of respect and kindness, but allow others to endure extreme cruelty and torture? Consumers have the right to know where their food comes from and how animals are treated before they reach their plates. This is a good, short video to watch about this topic: Or visit for information on adapting a more compassionate lifestyle.

labmonkey 6 years, 4 months ago

Bacon tastes good, pork chops taste good.

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