A family is fighting for the right to keep their four potbellied pigs in their southeast Michigan rental home.
Ypsilanti resident Stephanie Rowland, 38, went to court earlier this month to fight a citation that called for her to remove the pigs from her home, The Ann Arbor News reported.
The pigs provide emotional support and medical assistance, Rowland said.
Rowland and her husband Jeffery, 42, moved into the rental residence in September 2016. They live in the home with their six-month-old child and a friend, Benny Danovi, 47. Three of Danovi’s children also live in the home part-time.
A neighbor filed a complaint about the animals in August. The city’s ordinance prohibits livestock.
Rowland must prove to District Judge Kirk W. Tabbey that the animals are for emotional support and that her family qualifies for reasonable accommodation through the Fair Housing Act. One of the pigs is trained to respond to seizures and low blood sugar, Rowland said.
Michigan law doesn’t classify pigs as service animals. The Rowlands argue that the U.S. Department of Agriculture considers pigs to be pets, not livestock. The family also argues that the pigs don’t have an odor, are kept clean and don’t harm the community.
The city argues that the Fair Housing Act doesn’t apply in this case because the city isn’t a housing provider.
Tabbey recently accepted doctor’s notes from Rowland and letters from the city to consider. He’ll make a decision in March.
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