Pullman Planning Commission held hearing concerning potbelly pig

PULLMAN, WA - The debate about whether or not to allow pet pigs in the Pullman city limits continued Wednesday night with a public hearing.

Palouse Reporter Rachel Dubrovin explains why the city wants to uphold the ban, and why some members of the community think the law is outdated.

Last month, KLEW News met Bandit, the Vietnamese potbelly pig. His owner, Pullman Resident Ryan Graves, may have to get rid of Bandit if the City decides to continue its 99-year-old ban on pigs.

"It's really benign," said pig owner Ryan Graves. "I don't see the problem here."

The Planning Commission held a public hearing Wednesday night to discuss the issue.

"They are smart animals, they are often well mannered animals," said Pullman Planning Director Pete Dickinson.

City staff told the commission that they recommend upholding the ban.

"We recognize the benefits of keeping pigs as household pets, but feel the positive factors are outweighed by the negative ones, including pig's potential destructive and aggressive behaviors, the habit to root up yards," said Dickinson.

But all six people that spoke during the public hearing said miniature breeds of pigs like Bandit should be permitted.

"A law like this is so antiquated," said former Pullman resident Ryan Stafford.

They said the law was created to prevent residents from raising pigs as livestock, and that was instated long before miniature breeds came to the U.S.

"These specific breeds are bred to live indoors," said Stafford.

"The cheapest ones you can find are 400 to a grand, and they go upwards to $4,000," said former Pullman resident Chad Cook.

People that know Bandit vouched for his good behavior.

"And as a neighbor, I hate most of the dogs on the block over that pig any day," said Pullman resident Sonia Villanueva. "It's better than my dog."

"About 18 hours a day he just lays there," said Graves.

A few of the commission members supported lifting the ban and replacing it with regulations on size, number per household, licensing, and spaying or neutering.

"It's a matter of training," said Planning Commission Member Norma Crow.

But the discussion ended in a tied vote, and the commission decided to send the issue back to the City council.

Since the Planning Commission didn't reach an agreement, the City council will decide how to move forward in their council meeting on July 16th. Bandit is allowed to stay in Pullman until a decision is made.