At the Eureka Springs City Council meeting Monday, alderman Mickey Schneider said she has learned that some facts presented at the previous council meeting during discussion about changes to ordinances regarding animals in the city were based on misrepresentations and mistruths. Therefore, since that meeting she confabbed with Animal Control Officer Jimmy Evans, Police Chief Brian Young and Building Inspector Bobby Ray about what to do to City Code to control the population of pet pigs in town yet accommodate current owners of pot-bellied pigs, more appropriately called American mini-pigs.
Her recommendation was to limit the population of pet pigs in city limits to only those living here now as determined by having them registered at city hall. She also recommended changing the term “Hogs” in Code to “Swine,” and that Code stipulate that no domesticated animal shall reside in any unoccupied residence or on any unoccupied property.
She presented two options for solving the swine problem. One would be to borrow the strategy of North Little Rock and state in the appropriate place in Code regarding animals, “This section does not apply to American mini-pigs.” The other would be to register all pet pigs in town and put a sunset of Dec. 31, 2030, after which no pet pigs would be allowed in city limits. If no more pigs than the ones in town now were soon registered at city hall, then that date would give all legal swine time to live full lifespans.
Schneider presented seven letters from neighbors in support of a particular resident with two American mini-pigs. Schneider said she did not want a city full of pigs, but it would be discriminatory to have this person lose her pets.
Alderman Melissa Greene agreed she did not want to take anyone’s pet away, but several citizens have called her stating they did not want pet pigs in town because some opens the door for more.
Schneider insisted she wanted to maintain the population as it currently stands and have those animals on a list at city hall. She also presented these six guidelines for keeping a pig in town:
- Owner shall get a Certificate of Breed from licensed veterinarian.
- Pig shall spend a maximum of five hours per day outside.
- Poop picked up according to stated specifications. Baking soda sprinkled on urine in the yard.
- Animal Control Officer can inspect the property if necessary.
- No more than two pot-bellied pigs.
- Swine must be neutered.
Alderman Tom Buford stated Schneider can call it a miniature pig but the animal might reach 200 pounds. He said the city of New York had a similar issue that went to the New York Supreme Court that ruled a pig is still a pig. Therefore New York City pig owners must travel outside the city to visit their pets. Buford said he was against having pet pigs in Eureka Springs.
Alderman Terry McClung commented Schneider can call them mini-pigs but they turn into maxi-pigs, and if the city has mini-pigs, will it allow mini-goats and mini-horses? “I don’t want to spoil things for folks, he said, “but rules are rules.”
Once opinions had been aired, council voted to authorize the city attorney to draft an ordinance including the sunset date of Dec. 31, 2030, for allowing pet pigs in town, and the vote was 3-2, McClung and Buford voting No. Mayor Butch Berry voted Yes, so the motion Passed 4-2. Then council voted 4-1, Buford voting No, to include the six guidelines in the ordinance.
In other business
- Council unanimously seated Dr. Christopher Baranyk to the Hospital Commission.
- Res. 739 passed unanimously authorizing the mayor to execute the proportionate share agreement for the District Court judgeship for 2019. Eureka Springs is part of a group that pays one half of the base salary of the District Court Judgeship, with the state paying the other half. The agreement is shared in this way: Carroll County pays two shares, and Madison County, Berryville, Eureka Springs, Huntsville and Green Forest pay one share each. Each share is equal to $8378.57.
- Berry announced there were vacancies on these commissions: Planning, Cemetery and CAPC.
- Berry said he would speak with utility companies about non-functioning lights along city streets.
Next meeting will be Monday, Oct. 22, at 6 p.m. There will be a budget workshop preceding the meeting at 5:15 p.m.