Fort Mill Woman Fights To Keep Her Potbelly Pig, Says She’s Her Second Daughter

FORT MILL, S.C. — A Fort Mill mom and daughter were searching for the perfect pet. At the time, a dog wasn’t the right choice.

After some research they decided on a potbelly pig.

For four years, they say the pig has brought joy to the family and surrounding neighbors.
but after an anonymous complaint, they’re now facing Fort Mill’s Town Council.

Nicolle Burrell says her potbelly pig, Ruby Rose Marigold, is her second daughter, sweet, smart and wonderful to have around.

“It’s like how your dog or cat is to you. She’s part of the family. We got her as a baby,” Burrell said. “We got her at 8 weeks. She grew up with us. We’ve taken care of her. We’re her parents. We’re all what she knows.”

But just weeks ago, the town of Fort Mill gave her a notice that Ruby is in violation of an ordinance, which reads “it shall be unlawful for any person to keep or maintain any hog,  chicken or other fowl within the town.”

“This particular ordinance, its intent was to prohibit farm animals from being raised inside city limits and that was because there’s little way to manage waste, noise,” Fort Mill Town Mayor Guynn Savage, said. “Those types of situations are better in a rural area than in smaller neighborhoods inside a town boundary.”

Burrell says her neighbors wrote letters to the town. They’re also fighting to keep Ruby. She says her pig doesn’t make noise, doesn’t smell and is very clean and well taken care of.

“People think of a pig or hog and they’re laying in the mud and they’re going to the bathroom all over, it doesn’t work that way,” Burrell said. “It’s no different than a dog. They have the same IQ and the same emotions as a 3-year-old child. So imagine, pulling a three year old child away from the only home they’ve ever known. Pigs who are re-homed or put into shelters go into deep depression and I don’t want that for her.”

Mayor Savage says ordinances apply to everyone.

“We definitely want to follow the process and allow Mrs. Burrell to make her points and once that happens and we gather information that would be pertinent to this particular issue, council has the right to alter that ordinance, however I can tell you I’m only one vote on council,” the mayor said. “There are six other people, and our role is to ensure those ordinances protect every citizen. We can’t individualize ordinances.”

Burrell will be speaking at Fort Mill town council meeting. She’s hoping to learn more about the complaint and says many other surrounding towns allow potbelly pigs within town limits. And on top of keeping her pig, Burrell also wants to see changes to the ordinance.

No matter what, she plans to keep fighting for her Ruby, even if it means the possibility of going to court.



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