NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York State Sen. Tony Avella is joining a Staten Island family in its fight to save its pet pig.
Cristy Matteo says her pig, Wilbur, is like her child.
He’s a fully grown potbelly pig, weighing about 185 pounds with coarse, gray hair covering his body, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.
Wilbur has served as her father’s therapy pig for the past five years.
However, now the city is ordering the family to get rid of him by the end of the month, saying the pig violates the city’s health code, which says they are prohibited in part because they don’t get along well with other animals.
Matteo says Wilbur and her dog, Milo, are great friends.
“If Milo goes outside, Wilbur’s right behind him. Wilbur actually barks like Milo, he’s picked up his barking,” she said.
Avella, who’s running for mayor, has introduced legislation to allow pigs.
“It’s a limit of 200 pounds and a height of 22 inches, and one per household,” he to D’Auria.
He’s critical of the current administration’s stance.
“It’s a policy that should have changed years ago,” Avella said. “These animals — they help individuals who may have emotional distress or physical ailments.”