Pullman City Council members lift ban to allow pet pig in Pullman

PULLMAN, WA - The debate about pigs in Pullman continues on the Palouse.

Last June the City's Planning Commission wasn't able to decide whether or not to allow pet pigs in the city limits, but on Tuesday night, the City Council made the decision for them.

Reporter Rachel Dubrovin explains why the city is one step closer to passing a new set of pig regulations.

"They can become aggressive, and they can pass diseases onto humans," said Planning Director Pete Dickinson.

Tuesday night, the Pullman City Council was asked to decide whether to uphold a 99-year-old ban on pigs in the City limits, or to replace it with a new set of regulations for pig owners.

"My name is Ryan Graves.," said pig owner Ryan Graves. "I have a potbelly pig named Bandit."

The issue was originally brought before the council in May when the city found out that Pullman Resident Ryan Graves was keeping a Vietnamese potbelly pig as a pet.

"He doesn't root my yard, I have one of the nicest yards in the neighborhood," said Graves. "The only time he roots is when I take him down to the Dunes and he goes swimming."

Several residents spoke up during Tuesday's City Council meeting to show their support for Bandit.

"We're here because this is a touchstone about Pullman," said Pullman resident Roger Crawford. "And this is why everybody's here- is to find out, 'What kind of town are we?' What's more important? A guy with a pet pig, or a 99-year-old regulation. Which one are you guys going to chose? That's what we want to know."

"I think that it's time to allow a differentiation between a pet and an industry," said Pullman resident Garren Shannon.

The City's Planning Department recommended upholding the ban to protect property values. But the council members agreed to lift the ban and allow Graves to keep Bandit the pig in Pullman.

"The negatives for miniature pigs seem extremely similar to what you would get with a full sized dog," said Pullman City Council member Jeff Hawbaker.

"I think it's not smart to spend hours debating the future of a pig that's not hurting anyone," said Pullman City Council member Derrick Skaug. "I think we need to find the best way to do this legally and I think we need to move forward."

Now that the council has decided to lift the ban, the planning commission will need to develop a new set of policies that regulate things like maximum pig weight, lot size and vaccinations.