Council considering change in ordinance

Published 10:12 am Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Man’s OTHER best friend may soon be welcome inside Dowagiac homes.

Dowagiac City Council agreed to forward a motion to the city planning commission during its regular meeting Monday night to amend the zoning code to permit residents to keep miniature pigs (such as Asian or pot belly pigs) as pets.

The planning commission will hear the motion during its next meeting in January. If recommended by the commission and approved by council, the change could go into effect by the end of January.

The question of whether or not to permit residents to keep miniature pigs came before council during its last meeting Nov. 23, when resident April Elliott requested that the city consider amending the house pet ordinance to allow such animals to be raised in local homes.

While the use of such pigs as pets is a growing trend among many residents in the U.S., currently upkeep of such animals within Dowagiac limits is barred. The city’s zoning laws classifies all types of pigs as livestock, the raising of which is prohibited in all residential districts.

Following Elliott’s request, City Manager Kevin Anderson began researching the issue to determine if it was something the city should permit, he said.

“We found there are several communities in Michigan which have looked at this particular issue,” Anderson said.

Communities that permit the use of pigs as pets often have restrictions placed on them, such as the limits on the size of animals, restrictions on what type of property they can be kept on and licensing and vaccination requirements, Anderson said.

The planning commission’s next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 4, at Dowagiac City Hall. Since the motion would require a zoning change, a public hearing will take place before action is taken.