Mike Downey and his two potbelly pigs

Two little pigs closer to returning home

A Vic West man fighting to have outdated city bylaws changed is one step closer to bringing his potbelly pigs back home.

A Vic West man fighting to have outdated city bylaws changed is one step closer to bringing his potbelly pigs back home.

For the last four months, Mike Downey has been visiting his two potbelly pigs Athena and Vishnu at a farm in Brentwood Bay on the west side of the Saanich Peninsula.

Downey was forced to get rid of his pets after the City of Victoria told him they are in violation of city bylaws and threatened him with a $250 fine for every day the animals remained in the home.

However, living on a farm hasn’t been easy for the two domesticated pigs, who have lived with Downey for just over three years.

Downey said the pigs have gained significant weight from the unlimited amount of grass they have access to. Both pigs, who are used to the warmth of a home, have not adapted to living in a horse stall, so Downey set up a tent and tarp with sleeping bags and pillows to keep them warm.

Vishnu, the larger of the two pigs, has also developed breathing problems.

“This tears me apart inside, mentally. Every time I go outside with my clothes on and I feel as though it’s cold, all I can think about is how much they must be suffering,” Downey said. “It’s the most bothersome issue for me to know that my pigs aren’t healthy or happy . . . it’s been one of the worst winters of my life.”

But support has been growing to bring the pigs home.

The Facebook page Save Mikes Pet Pigs has more than 2,500 likes. It has even garnered a bit of celebrity attention with Victoria musician Nelly Furtado showing her support on Twitter, and music producer DJ Yella calling on the city to let Downey have his pigs back in a video.

In November, Downey made a presentation to council, calling to have the bylaw reviewed.

Since then, Coun. Ben Isitt said he’s in support of amending the bylaw.

“I think it’s reasonable to allow members of the public to keep these pets providing they do so responsibly,” Isitt said.

“I think there could be a lot more harm posed to the public from dangerous dogs or dangerous species of another animal. There’s nothing particular about these types of pigs that expose the public to unreasonable risk.”

Despite the support, amendment to a city bylaw requires a majority vote on council before it is even reviewed.

Downey said he’s hopeful he’ll get the support he needs to have the bylaw reviewed.

 

 

Just Posted

Horse carriage supporters to rally outside city hall

Owner of carriage company plans rally in response to Coun. Ben Isitt’s motion

UVic science and engineering research gets $18.8 million federal funding boost

Funding for engineering, science, sustainability research

Victoria woman competing for role as Maxim cover model

Winning model gets featured spread in magazine, cash price

Father of Saanich murder victim Lindsay Buziak set to appear on Dr. Phil show Friday

Jeff Buziak says he has not seen the show and does not know what to expect

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Raptors beat Bucks 120-102 to even series at 2-2

Lowry pours in 25 as Toronto moves within two games of NBA Finals

Body of missing snowmobiler recovered from Great Slave Lake

Police confirm the body is that of one of three missing snowmobilers

Christmas morning burglar sentenced on Vancouver Island

Justin Redmond Feusse, 20, sentenced to 240 days in jail for Dec. 25 break-and-enter

So, do you know ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’?

Ontario man searching for fellow he travelled with in Europe 50 years ago

Toddler seriously injured after falling from Okanagan balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment in Kelowna

Cost jumps 35% for Trans-Canada Highway widening in B.C.

Revelstoke-area stretch first awarded under new union deal

Most Read