A popular pet pig has been banned from public places in a Victorian town after a council ordered he was too dangerous for the streets.
Grunt the pig has been turning heads while waddling through Wangaratta, in the state’s northeast, for the past two years – and even has his own Facebook fan page.
But the local council has now written to owner Matthew Evans with the threat of a $806 fine if the porker is seen on city-owned land again.
Ironically, Mr Evans said, council has previously asked him to walk Grunt at the local show.
The city’s mayor Dean Rees said Grunt was a “good pig” and told 3AW Radio that if it were up to him the animal would be allowed to continue exercising in public.
“When he was a little piglet walking around the street, I remember him then. He was a great thing for the community,” Mr Rees told radio broadcaster Tony Jones on Monday.
“But he is a very big, 300-kilogram pig now.
“If I could, I’d change it, but as the mayor I don’t have that ability … it’s a by-laws officer situation.”
Bumped into him on my way back from the courthouse one day. A true gentleman. His owner said they were out playing Pokémon Go pic.twitter.com/Oo3QUdJWMr
— Samantha Dick (@samanthadick00) June 11, 2019
The notice from the Rural City of Wangaratta implies that walking Grunt on council land could endanger the public.
But Mr Evans believes the council is hamming up the threat and has called for the council to work with him on a “reasonable solution” to any concerns.
“We have contacted the council a number of times regarding issues with Grunt; including the council alleging he could not stay on our rural property due to not having sufficient space which was found to be untrue by the same council standards they were trying to employ,” he wrote on a Facebook fan page for Grunt.
“We believe this is just a further battle to find fault with a beloved part of the Wangaratta community.”
He disputed council’s claims the pig had been “taking food from a child”.
“This has never been brought up to the owners and they have never once received a personal complaint of this nature, nor any direct contact from the council regarding this matter,” Mr Evans wrote.
“Without a specific incident report we are unable to comment further on specifics but cannot recall a time where this has happened as we are very careful to warn children that have food in their hands to put it down before interacting with Grunt.”