LAYTON — Potbellied pigs won’t be allowed as household pets in Layton.
On Thursday night, the Layton City Council voted unanimously to deny a petitioner’s request that the city change its definition of “household pet” to include Vietnamese Potbellied Pigs.
The request was initiated by Layton resident Justine Needham, who currently owns a potbellied pig and wanted the city to mirror a zoning rule in place in North Salt Lake that allows for the animals in certain residential areas.
Needham told the council her pig was “not livestock” and was instead used as an emotional support animal to help her deal with post traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety. Needham said her healthcare provider has encouraged her to use the pig for emotional support.
“Without the support my pig provides, I would not be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” Needham told the council Thursday.
Layton Community and Economic Development Director Chad Wilkinson said city staff found several potential problems with the proposal upon reviewing it. One of the largest such issues, Wilkinson said, was simply having pigs in residential areas.
“(Pigs could have) potentially been allowed in townhome type settings, multi-family type settings,” Wilkinson said. “That is a concern, not only for the sake of impacts to neighboring property owners, but also for the welfare of the animals.”
Wilkinson said Layton does allow pigs in agricultural zones and some residential suburban zones, so long as lots are a minimum of 20,000 square feet, which is about a half acre.
“That, we feel, is an appropriate sized parcel ... and the right location, zoning district, for these types of animals to be allowed,” Wilkinson said.
Another problem city officials saw with the proposal was a possible slippery slope when it comes to defining household pets.
“We understand those concerns and desires to keep these animals,” Wilkinson said. “But at some point we have to define what a farm animal is and what a household pet is.”
The council ultimately voted 5-0 against amending the city’s definition of household pet. Wilkinson said the Layton City Planning Commission had previously recommended the council deny the motion and the Davis County Animal Control department also thought Layton’s present ordinance is appropriate.