Mary Smith, along with her family and neighbors, were picketing outside Coshocton City Hall today before city council in hopes of getting an ordinance changed so she can keep her beloved potbellied pig named Harley.
"Harley is to be removed from my property because it’s against the city limits. We’ve got Harley when he was five weeks old and he’s five years old. Harley has been used for therapy, he’s our therapy pig. He is loved by everybody, everybody loves Harley," said Mary Smith, owner of Harley.
Harley isn’t just any pig, he’s considered a family member in the Smith household and is also used as a therapy pet for Mary’s daughter, LaTasha.
"I go outside and sit with him, not on the ground, he’s too big, he’d squash me but I like to sit with him in my chair. He’ll eat snacks right out of your hand and stuff. He kind of has trouble seeing and hearing now but he wouldn’t hurt anybody," said LaTasha Smith, who uses Harley as a therapy pet.
Smith and her family have a lot of rescue animals including birds, dogs and a cat but say Harley is the quietest pet they have.
Smith said, "No, he’s quiet. It’s the dogs that seem to be more of an issue. There is a dog that we’ve chased away now for three days that’s coming after Harley, it’s not Harley that’s the problem."
But according to Coshocton City Ordinance 505.06 Keeping Farm Animals, "no person shall house, pasture or pen any pig, hog or swine inside city limits and whoever violates the ordinance, is guilty of a misdemeanor."
"Harley lives in a clean place, a clean environment. We’re not here to fight city hall, we’re here to ask city hall to help us to amend the city ordinance so that we can grandfather Harley in because we’ve had him for so long," said Smith.
At Monday’s meeting, city council agreed to consider amending the ordinance and possibly letting Harley stay with the Smith family.
"We can’t ignore the law of the ordinance that we have, but we can consider it and they’ve made an appeal and I appreciate them coming in and doing that and being engaged in the legislative process and we will review that and be getting back to them," said Steve Mercer, Mayor of Coshocton.
Mayor Mercer says city council didn’t know about the issue until Monday. The next step is for the housing committee to meet with the Smith family in the next couple weeks to discuss what options they have. Smith says the whole issue has been stressful and says she’s even considered putting up her house for sale, just to keep Harley.
"You’ve heard the saying he’s got a face on him only a mother could love, that’s not true, everybody loves Harley. And we just want to keep him at home with us where he belongs," said Smith.