Neil the Pig Not Going Anywhere: City Says Matter is Closed

Update posted 10:23 at 8:30 – Statement from Katherine Emerson’s Facebook page: I want to thank Larry Giannone, Chief of Police, Sierra Madre Police Department for working so diligently to save Neil Pig. Due to social media and a close knit community a resolution was reached within 24 hours. This would not have been possible without our local police department’s unwavering commitment to it residents. This is another reason why we need to save our police department and prevent the Sheriff’s Department from coming in to our small town. I also want to thank Rich Johnson, Carol Doupe’ Canterbury, and all the others who brought attention to his cause. We will be celebrating our success (Thursday) in Sierra Madre Memorial Park at 11:30am. Please come out and celebrate with us.

Posted 10/23/13 – There’s been a lot of chatter on Facebook about a citation issued to the owner of Neil the Pig, who resides on Montecito.  It started with a post by Neil’s owner, Katherine Emerson early yesterday evening, which said: “Due to my multiple complaints regarding the rooster violating city ordinance, the Sierra Madre Police Department has informed me that I am in violation of city ordinance 6.08.030-hogs. I was issued a warning stating that I have to get rid of the pig…yes, that mean Sierra Madre’s beloved Neil the Pig. Please get the word out that Sierra Madre Police is now trying to evict Neil from the city where he has lived for the past 17 years. Rich Johnson I need your help. Save Neil the Pig.”

Before long, the story was spreading around among Sierra Madre folks, and a Neil the Pig page was added to FB which in less than 24 hours had already gathered more than 300 friends.  A rally was organized for tomorrow at 11:30 to “Save Neil the Pig.”

I contacted the Chief to ask SMPD’s side of the story, and he referred me to Elisa Cox, who was responding to Neil the Pig inquiries.  Elisa informed me that nobody at the City is out to get Neil the Pig.  She said that due to complaints, the Pasadena Humane Society had sent an agent to the rooster’s home to issue a citation (editor’s note – in checking my notes, I realized Elisa said warning, not citation, so I’m making that correction) based on the City’s animal ordinance  which prohibits, among other things, roosters and hogs.  The agent became aware of Neil the Pig’s home while in the neighborhood (Elisa said that the rooster owner did not mention Neil to the agent).  As Elisa described it, the agent didn’t feel she could issue the citation warning to the one without issuing a citation warning to the other.  So, using her best judgement, a citation warning was issued to Neil’s owner.

Elisa tells me that no eviction order was ever issued, just a warning.  She said the ordinance doesn’t distinguish between a hog and a pig, but that hogs are generally considered to be animals that are going to be used for meat.  As such, Neil doesn’t qualify, so there are no plans to issue any further warnings to Ms. Emerson.  Elisa said that Chief Giannone was going to speak to Ms. Emerson to let her know that we don’t consider this a violation and the matter is closed.

No word on whether the rally will still take place tomorrow.  We’ll let you know if we hear anything.