Thursday, May 31, 2012

'The Swine Stays!' Says Judge To HOA; Well-Behaved Wilbur The Pot-Bellied Porker Dodges Boot As Effort To Evict Beloved Family Pet Deemed 'Not Kosher'

In Spring, Texas, KPRC-TV Channel 2 reports:

  • Monday, a judge ruled a Spring family can keep their pet pot-bellied pig, Wilbur, in their home. "Relief," said Missy Sardo, Wilbur's owner. "It's unbelievable."
  • Wilbur's owners, the Sardo family, have been fighting this battle for more than a year now. They said their pet pig is part of the family. "It's like one of my kids, only more well-behaved," said Alex Sardo. "I would do anything for him."
  • The family said their homeowner's association was objecting to Wilbur. They said The Thicket at Cypresswood Community Improvement Association told them they were in violation of deed restrictions. The family was ordered to get rid of Wilbur or face a possible foreclosure and hefty fines.
  • Monday, the judge ruled in favor of the Sardo family, granting their little piggie the right to stay in his home. "Don't let your HOA push you around," said Missy Sardo. The family celebrated the win with Wilbur in their home. They gave him an extra special treat of carrots and his favorite food, strawberries.
  • Wilbur is a popular pig with thousands of Facebook fans:!/WilburSardo. He also has a website with a live web cam.
Source: Family wins legal battle to keep pet pig (HOA told family to get rid of pig or face foreclosure).

For the court's ruling, see Sardo v. The Thicket At Cypresswood Community Improvement Association, No. 2011-51454 (Dist. Ct. Harris County, May 7, 2012).

Go here for the deposition of Spring, Texas veterinarian Robert L. Rogers, whose testimony contrasting the difference between a "household pet" and "livestock" (ie. an 'ordinary farm pig') was apparently found to be persuasive by the court.

Go here for Wilbur's lawsuit against the HOA, and here for the court papers in which Wilbur outlines his case, and includes appellate case law citations and affidavits from Wilbur's expert witnesses in support of his position, as well as his responses to the Association's objections.

Representing Wilbur in his successful battle against his homeowners' association were attorneys Mitchell Katine and Benjamin Ha of Katine & Nechman LLC, Houston, Texas.

Editor's Note: No word yet from Wilbur as to whether he will be awarded prevailing party attorneys' fees and costs under the Texas Uniform Declaratory Judgment Act (which the court explicitly makes reference to in its ruling), the tab for which the homeowners' association would be left holding the bag (it sure sounds like Wilbur dragged the HOA through a 'pig sty' when he brought his grievances to court and, given the way this case appears to have been litigated by his advocates, the homeowners' association may be in for another major $lam).

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