Danielle Forgione and her family love their pig Petey, who is named after her brother who perished in a motorcycle crash last year. But the New York Health Department is citing a health code law prohibiting people from keeping pigs as pets and, according to Forgione, is threatening to take Petey away. While having a farm animal as a four-legged friend is a bit unusual, there are owners out there who argue that pigs are just as loving and safe to keep as dogs or cats, and they’re fighting to get the city to overturn the legislation that could make them part with their beloved pets.
Nadine Darsanlal, a disabled Navy veteran in Whitestone, Queens who claims her pet as a service pig, also says she was summoned by the Health Department to “dispose” of her pet pig, Wilbur. After refusing to comply, both Darsanlal and Forgione were told that the department would come in with force and remove their illegal pets. “A lot of people say, ‘Just give up the animal.’ But he’s become part of our family, and I can’t,” said Danielle told the New York Post.
According to the Center for Disease Control, farm animals like pigs have the potential of carrying a number of bacteria and diseases. Specifically, pigs can carry the bacterium Yersinia enterocolitica, which causes the disease yersiniosis (common symptoms include fever, abdominal pain and diarrhea). However, these facts apply to farm animals raised on an actual farm, not a New York City apartment where constant exposure to manure isn’t likely. Nonetheless, pigs don’t meet the city codes because of health risks like rabies.
In a rally set for 11 am today, Senator Tony Avella will be joined by the Forgione family at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to explore options that would allow the family to keep their pig, in addition to discussing possible changes to city law that would classify these pigs as therapy pets.
Via New York Post