Spring family sues HOA to keep pet pig

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by Courtney Zubowski / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on August 30, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 30 at 5:20 PM

HOUSTON – A Spring family fighting to keep their pot-bellied pig has filed a lawsuit against their HOA.

The Sardo family lives in The Thicket at Cypresswood subdivision with Wilbur, their 60-pound, 8-month-old potbelly pig.

In July, they got a notice from their HOA saying they had 30 days to find Wilbur a new home.

The HOA said Wilbur had to go because the neighborhood’s deed restrictions ban livestock.

Wilbur’s owner, Missy Sardo, was initially told that if she could get 51 percent of the homeowners in the subdivision to sign a petition agreeing to allow the pig, the deed restrictions could be changed.

The Sardos got the signatures and started a Facebook page for their pet, which now has a following of over 4,400 people. But about a week later, Missy Sardo said she got a second letter from the HOA saying the petition wouldn’t change anything, and they would have to find Wilbur a new home, after all.

Now, the family is facing $200-a-day fines for every day Wilbur stays at their house after September 10.

So on Tuesday, the Sardos filed a lawsuit against the HOA, asking a court to judicially declare that Wilbur is a household pet and not a violation of the deed restrictions.

"According to the USDA, potbelly pigs are classified as pets, not livestock, and Wilbur was – in fact – sold and taxed by the State of Texas as a pet," Sardo said. "The HOA has made demand that we get rid of Wilbur, and we just can’t do it. He is part of our family, and the deed restrictions permit household pets. Wilbur is a household pet, and we have decided to fight for him."

Mitchell Katine, the Sardo family’s attorney, said he hopes the lawsuit will allow the Sardos to keep their beloved pig.

"There is no reason in the world that Wilbur should be sent away. He is part of the Sardo family, and is not bothering anyone," Katine said. "Most people have large dogs that are much larger, noisier, smellier than Wilbur is. This is just not fair."

The Sardos said they’re willing to pay the $200-a-day fine until the judge says it’s OK for them to keep their pet.

And if the judge says they can’t keep Wilbur, they’ll think about selling their house.

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