Local Council Bans Man From Walking His Pet Pig On A Lead
Grunt the pig is a beloved Wangaratta local, but his days could be numbered after the council banned him from strolling the streets -- even on a lead.
Owner Matthew Evans claimed he had been threatened with an $806 fine if he's caught walking the three-year-old porker.
According to a formal letter from the council, dated May 28, Evans had breached the Wangaratta Council's "community amenity" laws when exercising Grunt.
"Immediately cease and desist walking any pigs on Council Land Or Road," read the notice, which he posted on his Facebook page.
"If you fail to comply with this notice you will be guilty of an offence and liable for the payment of a penalty of $806.00 for the offence".
The shocked owner posted a photo of the notice on the pig's very own Facebook page, pleading for advice.
"Anyone know any non-council land I can walk on?" he wrote. "Any help is appreciated please!"
The community response supporting Grunt has been overwhelmingly positive.
"I don’t understand who you’re hurting by walking Grunt? He poses a threat to no one," one user wrote. "Particularly if he’s on a lead, I don’t see how he’s any more of a danger to anyone than a dog".
Grunt loves a nap after a stroll through the streets of Wangaratta. Photo: Grunt The Pig via Facebook
"Is there a petition we can start? I’ve seen him a couple of times and he’s happily snorting about on his leash getting walked," said another. "He’s well looked after, didn’t run at me or act in a threatening way towards me or my pram or child.... friendliest pig around!"
"Grunt is harmless and brings so much joy to people who meet him," said a third. "Wow. We are surrounded by small minded people who make some ridiculous decisions in this town. Grunt needs to run for council as he would do a better job."
READ MORE: Japan's First Pig Cafe Has Opened In Tokyo
Others suggested Evans hire a lawyer.
The dismayed owner said the warning letter came out of nowhere.
"I've always had a good relationship with the council," he told 10 daily.
"I've sat down and talked with the mayor, he came up and got a pat and a photo and previous councils have actually asked me to walk him around the show. I've also walked him around the old folks home."
Just days before Evans received the notice, Dean Rees, the mayor of Wangaratta, walked a goat through the rural city "with the new logo of the town shorn into him," Evans said.
The owner claimed he had never received a complaint before about the pig, but said he once had to phone the police when Grunt disappeared.
"We were in the common across from my house, it's a big old empty space, and it's filled with kangaroos that occasionally jump in front of cars," he explained.
"One of those jumped in front of me and scared him off. He eventually came home all on his own but we told police that he was missing."
But Wangaratta Council claimed there had been complaints about Grunt, including him taking food from children.
"While we understand the angst about this issue, council needs to put community safety first," a council spokesperson told The Times.
"The owner has not been asked to put down the pig, but has been asked to contain it to his property and not walk the pig in on council property in Wangaratta."
10 daily has contacted council for further information.
Evans described Grunt as a "people's pig," a"big baby" and "a very gentle soul" that would never harm a fly let alone a person.
"One day when he was drinking water he accidentally drank a frog and he spat it out and cried for three days. He was very traumatised by it," Grant said.
He hopes to have a constructive discussion with the Wangaratta Council this week.