HAMILTON, Ontario, July 15 (UPI) -- A Canadian couple who own and operate a local animal shelter are fighting to change a local law so they can keep their pet pot-bellied pig.
Diane Hines shared a petition seeking to have the bylaws of the city of Hamilton, Ontario, changed so she and her husband, who run Lazy Dazy Animal Haven, can keep the pot-bellied pig named Sheldon they rescued two years ago.
"Sheldon has become such a huge part of our family and we all love him so much," Hines wrote. "My husband and I are heart broken and need your help to change these old outdated laws. He is only 60 pounds and smaller than most dogs. He deserves to live with his family and we deserve to keep loving him."
According to the CBC, a complaint from a neighbor forced Hines, 43, to seek a license to keep Sheldon. The license due to a 2012 change to the law.
The local law was changed to require a license for keeping Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs as pets and determined that no new licenses would be given.
Hines said her primary focus when she adopted Sheldon in 2011 was on keeping him alive as she and her husband spent $6,000 on treating the sick pig within the first 24 hours after taking him in.
She said she feels that the laws are "outdated" and mislabel pot-bellied pigs as farm animals.
"They're not farm creatures," Hines said. "He's not a barn animal by any means. They're extremely intelligent, very emotional."
Animal Services Supervisor Brad Potts reached out to Hines to see if she would be able to be grandfathered in by proving her ownership predates the bylaw change, but she declined in hopes of changing the law for other pig owners.
"I would still like to make the case that the bylaw should be changed, regardless," she told the Hamilton Spectator. "Maybe I get to keep Sheldon, which would be great. But that doesn't help anyone else. And truly, these are really wonderful, loving pets."