Family has less than 30 days to get rid of pigs, chickens – Action News Jax

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two pot-bellied pigs, seven chickens and a neighbor’s complaint. A local family is upset about having to dispose of their pets for non-compliance with the city of Jacksonville.

The owner tells Action News Jax he didn’t know he needed a permit or an exception. He said he had owned the pigs for nearly four years and the chickens for more than two years, claiming they were pets.

He said there has never been a problem in the years they’ve had them so far and he doesn’t think it’s fair for them to be retired.

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“These are my pets and I don’t want to get rid of them,” owner James Leverock said.

Leverock said his family had lived in the house for about 30 years and they were grandfathered. Leverock said he never had a problem until someone filed a complaint with the city and he received his first violation.

His violation indicates that a zoning exception is required for animals other than pets in a low-density residential neighborhood, requires him to remove the two pigs, and indicates that he needs a permit for the hens.

Action News Jax researched the City of Jacksonville’s Ordinance Code, which says residents can keep up to five chickens with a permit.

A city ordinance for keeping pigs as pets states that residents are only allowed to own purebred Vietnamese miniature pigs, or sus scrofa vittatus, that are registered with an American-recognized purebred registry. Care and Protective Services.

The pig should also only be kept to provide human companionship.

He says residents are not allowed to own more than one pot-bellied pig per acre or portion thereof, and no more than two pot-bellied pigs.

Leverock said that given he had his pigs for so long, was unaware of the rule and no one had ever complained before, he thinks it’s wrong, he has to immediately get rid of it.

“I don’t want my pigs to die,” he says. “These are my pets, just because they’re labeled a pig doesn’t mean they’re any different from a dog.”

Concerned neighbor Constance Snavely said she was the person who made the complaint, saying she saw a chicken being mauled by a dog on a walk and she didn’t think these types of animals should be in a residential area.

“It’s clear what they’re going to do with these pigs, they have smokers in their backyard,” she said.

Action News Jax asked Snavely if it was fact or speculation that they put the pigs in the smokers.

“That’s a guess, but what else do you do with thousand pound pigs in an 8×8 pen with smokers nearby?” she says.

Leverock denied claims that pigs would go in the smoker, called it ridiculous and said his family would never do that. He also said a chicken was not mutilated by a dog and their family’s chickens were not allowed on the same side of the yard as their dogs.

Neighbor Ariel Beese says their family loves animals and has never been bothered before.

“I think it’s kind of sad because they’re going to have to give up a family member,” Beese said. “I understand the code and the regulations, no one wants to be against the law but I certainly didn’t complain.”

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Leverock said he would do anything to keep his beloved pets.

“I think we should be able to keep our pigs. I am ready to pay for a permit and pay for a course,” he said.

Neighbors like Beese said they had never seen the chickens enter anyone else’s yard. They also told Action News Jax that they didn’t even know the Leverock Pigs were in the backyard because they’re so quiet.

The Leverock family told Action News Jax they will be taking classes, working to get the chickens licensed and hope to get an exception for their pigs.

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