Controversy 'bacon' in Tavares over pet mini pigs

Couple pushes to change city ordinance to allow livestock

TAVARES, Fla. – While plenty of people walk their dogs in Lake County, it's a different kind of pet that's got city officials squealing.

James DuMars and his girlfriend, Robin Donnelly, have pet mini-pigs. The couple also breeds mini pigs for adoption, on top of owning Mr. Pigglesworth and Karma.

"They roam the yard freely and they come in the house when they're clean," DuMars said. "It's been like having another companion."

The problem with these companions is they are not allowed within the city limits, along with horses, mules, sheep, goats, chickens and plenty of other livestock.

"We really couldn't see ourselves without them," DuMars added.

The couple received a notice about the violation after a city employee discovered the mini pigs.

"At that point, we decided we were going to fight for them," Donnelly said. "And we petitioned the city council to change the ordinance."

Some residents spoke up, saying they don't want "farm animals next door."

But Donnelly points out that they can actually improve a backyard.

"When we first moved in, this entire yard was a sandpit," she explained. "Because of the piggy manure, we have gotten lots of grass to grow and the yard is starting to look green."

The Tavares City Council is expected to vote on the ordinance on Aug. 16. Public input is welcome at that meeting before a decision is made.

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