Man fights to keep 110-pound potbellied pig as an emotional support animal

The pig owner's case could head to a criminal trial.
Emotional Support Pig
Posted at 11:19 AM, Feb 11, 2022

CANAJOHARIE, N.Y. — A man in New York State is fighting to keep his 110-pound pig as an emotional support animal.

Ellie the potbellied pig lives in the village of Canajoharie with her owner, Wyverne Flatt.

But she’s living there illegally.

The village passed a law in January that states “no farm animals, domesticated animals or domestic livestock shall be allowed in the Village.”

The law was passed unanimously.

Any “unusual animal” is required to have proper registration and owners can face a fine of up to $25 per day.

Flatt has already gone to court 13 times to protect his right to keep an emotional support pig.

Now Flatt’s case could soon head to a criminal trial, with supporters behind him.

Several of his neighbors have signed affidavits saying they like Ellie.

Mayor Jeff Baker said the board has no comment while the court case is pending.

But an attorney for the village wrote in a court filing that the pig is a potential public health hazard.

She argued that if “every citizen were to openly scoff at the Village zoning codes ... we would live in a lawless society.”

Ellie's fate could hinge on federal housing guidance that says municipalities should provide a “reasonable accommodation” when a person can demonstrate an animal provides emotional support for a disability-related need.

Flatt's attorney argues that his client meets that test, saying that Ellie allowed Flatt to get off his medication and cope with his anxiety.

A trial was scheduled to start March 22, but has been delayed. If found guilty, Flatt could face jail time or have the pig taken from him, according to his attorney.