Roxborough neighbors rally behind pet pig after animal control warning

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- "We've always had a pig here, and we've always had chickens here,'' said Dr. Cindy Balzer.

But after 19 years at her Roxborough home, she received the first of many notices from animal control about her beloved pet pig and chickens.

Someone had reported her.

Animal Care & Control Tream of Philadelphia (ACCT) tells Action News that farm animals are not allowed as pets in the city limits.

"You were aware that you were not supposed to have these animals?" asked reporter Christie Ileto.

"I was aware I was not supposed to have the chickens, but Joey is a potbelly pig not a swine for slaughter," Dr. Balzer said. "He's a pet not livestock, and chickens are barnyard pets."

Roxborough residents are rallying behind a pet pig named Joey after its owner gets a warning from animal control.

As Dr. Balzer, a retired veterinarian, was explaining how she's looking to get a variance from the City Zoning board to keep her pets, neighborhood children showed up at her gates, hoping to see Joey.

"We live around the corner and I come by every day with my daughter," said Bill Elek. "They don't make a lot of noise, they don't do anything wrong in the neighborhood. I don't see why people are trying to get rid of them!"

"I don't understand. It's literally not bothering anyone. It's so upsetting?" asked Nicole Shapiro.

The issue garnering support from her neighbors and even the Green Lane Nursery School around the corner.

"It's a strong community, we don't want to see this pig leave," said Suzanne Taylor.

Dr. Balzer admits she is overwhelmed by the support, and has asked for a hearing with Zoning Board of Adjustment for August, but says it might be pushed back to later.
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