Otis Lundy, deployed to Iraq, is having trouble at home.
His pet pig named Patrick has become a problem for the first time in seven years.
The city discovered the pig recently and wants to issue a summons because pigs have been outlawed in the city in recent years. But Lundy isn’t due home until the fall.
Lundy took to Facebook on June 27 when he said the city suggested he surrender his pet to the Jackson County Animal Shelter long-distance, via telephone.
“It's so great to know that in this day and age of technology I have the convenience to call from the Middle East to give away my pet,” he said on Facebook. “Nevermind the fact that the ordinance against it was adopted 3 years after I got him, you'd think they would have the common decency as human beings to wait. After all, after 7 years what harm is a few more months going to cause so that I can deal with this in person?”
The backlash has been swift among people concerned with Lundy’s predicament.
Lundy believes Patrick could be grandfathered in since he owned the pig before the law changed.
Deputy Police Chief Brandon Ashley said he understands the pig might be grandfathered, but that’s not for the police department to decide. He said if they can issue a summons, then Lundy or his spouse can go to court and the judge will decide what to do.
Ashley said his animal control officer discovered the pig when she went to Lundy’s home on Oak Avenue near downtown about a dog issue.
“We're not getting any complaints about the pig,” Ashley said. “We're not on the pig's trail, trying to knock down doors to get a pig. We just want to get with the tenant and give him a notice of violation.”
Lundy’s neighbor, Deborah Burns, has no problem with Patrick.
“We’ve enjoyed watching it grow up,” Burns told the Sun Herald on Tuesday. “He hasn’t been a problem. You don’t smell it. He seems like a friendly little pig.”
In the meantime, Ashley is aware that Lundy is deployed to Iraq and said he believes the judge will give him consideration because of that.
Ashley said, “We're not trying to move the pig without a court order.” But police are having trouble getting in touch with the person living at the home.
“We're just trying to get hold of someone to write the summons to,” he said.
In an updated post, Lundy thanked people in the city who are concerned.
“All of your shares and comments have been a blessing and have put me in touch with a lot of new friends offering great advice and help. Good news is that if worse comes to worst Patrick will have plenty of options for good homes even if just temporary.”
He said his Alderwoman Shirley Chambers and other city officials have worked with him long-distance to understand and help.
Maridee Mallette, in charge of animal adoptions at the county animal shelter, said she’s been assured that the county would take care of the pig until Lundy returns, if it comes to that. But she has also found a foster family that is on standby.