There Are Pigs Among Us

Still: New York Times
Still: New York Times

Those who live in New York may be tickled (if you love animals), tantalized (if you like bacon), or traumatized (if you are a big baby) to learn of an “underground pig network” in the big city. (More like pig city!) Today, the New York Times reports on what it’s like to reeeeeeally want a Wilbur or Babe of your own despite living under a city health code provision that bans “all even-toed ungulates,” including but not limited to “deer, antelope, sheep, pigs, including pot bellied pigs, goats, cattle, giraffe and hippopotamus.”

Why would you want a pet pig? Reports the Times of one owner of the porcine contraband:

Ms. Matteo, who works for a tugboat company, got a piglet on a whim. “I just woke up one morning and said, ‘I’m buying one,’” she said.


Why should you not have a pig, according to the city?

The health department opposes it, for several reasons. “Pigs raised as house pets can become aggressive to humans,” the agency said in a recent statement. Also, it noted, there is no federally approved rabies vaccine for pigs.


In 2014, the most recent year for which federal statistics are available, there were no cases of rabies in pigs reported in the United States, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were, however, 272 rabid cats, 59 rabid dogs and one rabid llama.


There goes the llama again, finding yet a new way to break my heart.

Speaking of broken hearts, the article opens with an anecdote about the aforementioned Cristy Matteo, who lives on Staten Island. She was found in violation of the city’s health code, but convinced a judge to disregard the violation because her 180-lb. Wilbur is her support animal. But now the city is up to its old tricks and the health department is forcing her to part ways with her pig friend:

Ms. Matteo, 46, must get rid of Wilbur by the end of the month. She has lined up a sanctuary in North Carolina for him, but she is not ready to give him up.

“I’m just praying that something gives between now and Jan. 31,” she said on Monday as Wilbur grunted quietly beside her in her living room on Staten Island’s South Shore.


Isn’t that sad? Don’t you wish you had a support pig to help you feel better? Well, too bad, says the bastard that is New York City.

Some Pig. Terrific. Radiant. Humble.

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I can understand ban on pigs as pets. But hippos? Why can’t keep a hippopotamus as a pet?