ESSEX — A Vermont woman considers her pigs to be pets, but town officials where she lives say they’re farm animals and have no business living in a residential neighborhood.
The Essex zoning board on Thursday gave Florence Gruber and Alan Tsefrekas until Jan. 22 to remove an estimated 30 to 40 miniature potbellied pigs from their home in the Pinewood Manor neighborhood.
Gruber told the board her pigs use litter boxes and that the adult animals weigh in at 50 to 100 pounds. She’s given them names like Larry, Nadia, Olive and Snow White Sleepy Girl.
But a town official said Gruber was violating town regulations by keeping pigs in a residential area, and neighbors who have complained about the pigs and the condition of the property told board members the pigs must go.
“You have neighbors; that’s the issue,” resident Marie Sadler said. “It’s about consideration for people in the neighborhood.”
Gruber last month told the Burlington Free Press that she had lost count of how many pigs she had — at least 30, maybe 40.
The newspaper said the pigs were living downstairs and upstairs, and that the house smelled of bleach. Gruber said she knew she couldn’t keep so many pigs in her house, but needed perhaps a month to find new homes for them.
“We want to get rid of all of them except two or three,” she said. “We never intended to keep this many in a situation like this.”
A New Jersey court last spring order Gruber to find new homes for the roughly 30 pigs she had in a house in Paulsboro, N.J. Gruber said she ended up with so many pigs after she began breeding them.
She moved to Vermont when Tsefrekas invited her to live with him, with both of them mistakenly believing the pigs were allowed to live with them, she said.
Town officials began investigating the pigs after Tsefrekas was observed dumping animal waste in a ravine behind the house. A town official who visited the home in November counted 47 pigs, said Zoning Administrator Sharon Kelley.MORE IN Vermont News
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1927, striking Colo. miners attacked with machine guns by state police; 1877, Thomas Edison announces invention of the phonograph, 1959, Alan Freed fired by WABC 770 AM for accepting payola to promote records.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivers short speech in Gettysburg, Pa.; in 1984, a Pemex LNG facility destroyed by series of gas explosions, 600 people are killed; in 1998, Senate builds fire under Bill Clinton.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1831 – Independent South American super-state, Gran Colombia, dissolved; 1856 - Fort Buchanan built to control Apache warriors; 1970 - William Calley Jr. goes on trial after 1968 massacre at My Lai, Vietnam.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Wisconsin Sen. Joe McCarthy takes advantage of Cold War jitters and builds a tidy little fiefdom for himself on Capitol Hill. It's all good, but pride goes before you know darn well what. The junior senator is damaged going down.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1927, Leon Trotsky is expelled from the Soviet Communist Party, leaving Joseph Stalin in control of the Soviet Union; in 1970, Oregon DOT tries to dynamite a dead whale off a beach with a rather shocking result.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: In 1972, Southern Airways Flight 49 is hijacked, the crew and passengers held for ransom. The hijackers want $10 million and passage to Cuba. In 2007, in Santiago, Chile, King Juan Carlos of Spain loses patience with Hugo Chavez.