Gorham family fights for pet pig

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Wilbur, a pet mini pig, faces removal from a family in a Gorham because of a zoning issue.

Blake Small, 12, pets his 25-pound pal, Wilbur, at his family home in Little Falls in Gorham. Zoning there does not allow for farm animals on small lots.

GORHAM — The fate of a family’s miniature pet pig will likely be an issue for the Town Council to resolve next month.

Cassidy St. Jernquist of Pleasant Street in Little Falls last week sought the council’s intervention so her family could keep their 1-year-old pet, Wilbur. Her request followed a code enforcement verbal ruling that Wilbur is a violation of the town ordinance prohibiting farm animals on small lots in the urban residential zone.

The family has had Wilbur since he was 6 weeks old, but someone recently squealed on him. St. Jernquist says a code officer visited her home and identified Wilbur as a farm animal. The pig is a pet and has never been on a farm, she says.

Wilbur sleeps under a blanket inside the house and even bathes inside.

It appears Town Council action will be necessary to save Wilbur’s bacon. The board on Oct. 2 directed its Ordinance Committee, which meets at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 16, to review the situation. The matter could go back to the full Town Council at its next regular meeting, which will be held after the Nov. 6 election when the council will have two new members.

Meanwhile, Wilbur appears to have been granted a stay. Town Councilor James Hager insisted Wilbur would not be evicted.

Not an ordinary hog or a pot-bellied, Wilbur has a pedigree. He is a genuine mini Juliana pig, St. Jernquist says. He weighs 25 pounds and stands about 12 inches tall.  He’ll likely reach full growth at 50 pounds. The Gorham family found Wilbur through a Facebook posting and a former owner drove him to Gorham from Connecticut.

Wilbur isn’t roaming hog wild through the quiet neighborhood. He is mostly an indoor pig, but does have a pen bedded with hay in the backyard. He’s clean. He takes baths in the family’s tub while licking peanut butter they put on the sides for him, St. Jernquist says.

And he’s not noisy.

“He doesn’t oink until early in the morning when he wants to eat,” she says.

Her 12-year-old son, Blake Small, feeds him before leaving each morning for Gorham Middle School.

Wilbur pigs out on veggies and apples and “he loves marshmallows,” Small said.

Wilbur loves the family’s two dogs and two others from another apartment.

St. Jenquist and her son hugged after hearing the Town Council’s unanimous decision last week ordering a review.

Robert Lowell can be reached at 854-2577 or email rlowell@keepmecurrent.com