Grunt The Pig Is Back Walking The Streets After Council Backflip
Beloved pig Grunt has walked the streets of Wangaratta, Victoria again, nearly a month after he was slapped with a ban.
Owner Matthew Evans was left devastated in May after he received a letter from the local council claiming he had breached "community amenity" laws by walking Grunt on council land.
He was ordered to "immediately cease and desist" walking the pig through town, and was threatened with an $806 fine if he was caught breaking the rules.
"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," Wangaratta Council wrote.
Evans, who didn't know where to turn, posted a plea for help on social media.
"Anyone know any non-council land I can walk on?" he wrote. "Any help is appreciated please!"
The response was huge, with the story making headlines around the country.
Many locals were quick to come to Evans' aid: some posted messages of support across their own social media channels, while others set up an online petition calling for Grunt to be let back onto the streets of Wangaratta.
By Thursday, it had been signed by 3,124 people.
"He’s been walking with his owner & best mate Spock the dog for so long now & is always on a lead & so well behaved, he is such a gentle, friendly boy," the petition read.
"Why should such a lovely animal be banned from our streets for no good reason at all?"
Even Victorian politician Tim Quilty joined the movement to get the band overturned.
After mounting pressure, Wangaratta Council has finally backed down.
They've agreed to allow Grunt to be walked on the streets with a special lead, with the only exception being the CBD.
"Which is fine with me," Evans told 10 daily, sounding very relieved.
On Thursday, Grunt took his first steps on council land in a little under a month.
"I walked him on a semi-busy street today and everyone beeped and yelled, 'woo, go Grunt!'" Evans said.
"I'm feeling great, its a relief to be walking around town again."
As for Grunt, he's had a big day in front of locals and media crews and appears to be still getting used to his star power.