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Florida family fights to keep pet pig

Posted at 7:02 AM, Dec 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-22 07:02:09-05

VENICE, Fla.--Hamilton has been the talk of one Florida town and we're not talking about the hit musical.

We're talking about a Venice family's pet pig.

His oinking greets you when you walk through the front door at the McDowell home.

"The kids decided one day that a mini pig would be a good pet and they kinda ran with it," said Cari McDowell. "Was not something I ever thought I would have."

Now, she couldn't imagine a life without Hamilton until she got hit with a notice from her homeowners association.

It said you have 20 days to respond and 7 days to get rid of this pet. Her HOA first voiced concerns about Hamilton a year ago.

"We had done our research. I mean, we had looked at the association documents and we had looked at the Sarasota county ordinance," McDowell said. "The first letter we got we thought well maybe they don't know the county ordinance."

It states purebred miniature potbellied pigs are not considered farm animals when not raised for food or product which McDowell explained over a year ago at a meeting with the HOA.

The association seemed to let it go until recently.

"We got a letter stating our defense was that he was a service animal and therefore we needed to provide documentation," she said.

"So we wrote to the lawyer and we were like, 'I think there's been a mistake.' You know we said he was a common household pet," McDowell added.

She showed off documents that she had to present to try and convince the association that Hamilton is a pet, not a farm animal or swine. He even has his own Facebook page.

It has become a civil matter between the McDowells and the HOA.

"He's part of the life. You come home and he greets you at the door, he does a funny little pig laugh when he's happy to see you," McDowell said. "He's part of our family so we really don't' want to get rid of him."

The Woodmere Lakes Homeowners Association was unable to be reached for a comment.