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
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Scientists call for more research on the temporal and lasting effects of nuclear fallout on plants and animals in proximity to Japan’s Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power station where changes at the molecular level were found.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 410 CE, Visigoths sack Rome and it isn't the first time, either; in 1859, Titusville, Pa., the first commercially viable oil well comes in; in 1918, the only World War I battle fought on U.S. soil in Nogales, Ariz.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Archaelogists uncover artifacts proving that late neolithic Egyptians, pre-dating the Pyramids of Giza, practiced mummification to prepare their dead for the afterlife, far earlier than presupposed.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE:Chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing that pollute ground water and the air we breathe come under scrutiny by researchers who find at least eight fracking chemicals toxic to mammals.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: The craze for Omega-3 fatty acids as a dietary supplement in its most popular form, fish oil, has led to depletion of fish stocks in oceans throughout the world. Is this the beginning of the total collapse of global fisheries?
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Suspects arrested in Killington bear death, Bryanna Allen and Kevin O'Connor report along the Back to School front, Rutland Plywood site remains an active fire scene as debris continues to smolder.