NEW CASTLE, Ind. – A New Castle mom is fighting the city to keep her 160 pound pot-bellied pig. Farm animals are not allowed within city limits, according to city code, but Joy Burke said the 10-month-old pig named Dazie is her emotional support animal.
Burke has had her pig for about a year and said it's never been a problem until someone complained to animal control. She claims Dazie helps her with anxiety and panic attacks.
"It takes my mind off of what is wrong with me with what is wrong with her because she gets upset when I am upset," said Burke.
Burke got her in February when Dazie was just 15 pounds. The family said she acts more like a dog.
"She is the biggest part of the family," said Burke. "I just love her so much. I can’t see being without her."
According to current city code, it is illegal to own, board, keep or maintain pigs within the legal boundaries of the city. Exemptions to the provisions may be issued by the Board of Public Works and Safety and people which such exemptions must submit to the Board a written application.
There is a scheduled hearing in November with the city to determine if Burke can keep her pig within city limits. Burke has filled out paperwork to request exemption to the provision.
"We are going to abide by our ordinances and just go from there," said Mayor Greg York.
Mayor York said they will be looking for legal documentation from a doctor.
"All we are asking for is that a doctor would have moral standards behind it, that it feasibly is healthy for a pig to live in a house with a human," he said.
Burke does have a letter signed by a licensed clinical social worker, or LCSW, that diagnoses her and authorizes an emotional support animal. It does not say what that animal should or should not be.
According to a state law that took effect July 1, an individual who moves from another state may provide documentation from a social worker.
"I really think it is none of nobody’s business what kind of animal I have," said Burke.
Burke needs to get approval from her neighbors before the hearing next month. She said most of her neighbors approve of the pig.