Finley, the potbellied pig, can stay in Leechburg — at least for now
The pig can stay — for now.
Finley, a potbellied pig living in the Leechburg home of Destiney and Cody Griffith, became the subject of controversy last month after the newly married couple was told they had to get the pig out of their house on Second Street.
After the Griffiths skipped their honeymoon to make their case for why an exception should be made for a pig such as Finley, officials told them that Finley could stay for at least another month as council worked to understand the implications of changing an ordinance that prohibits residents from keeping swine.
On Tuesday, council again said Finley could stay until a final decision is made. Council voted 7-0 to suspend the ordinance in question until December or January, when Councilman Christian Vacarro is expected to present an amendment for council to consider.
“I’m confident that at that time, working with the solicitor, we’ll be able to come up with some kind of amendment that will maintain the health and safety standards within the borough, as well as make sure the ordinance maintains our community standards,” he said.
Vacarro said that he personally thinks Finley should be allowed to stay but that the process of changing the borough’s rules will most likely take several meetings.
Vacarro stressed to his council colleagues that the traditional cat and dog home pet model was a thing of the past and encouraged them to keep an open mind on what constitutes a pet in the modern age.
Destiney Griffith said the decision to allow Finley to stay temporarily is a victory in her eyes.
“I think tonight was a small victory in a very large pool of wins and losses,” she said. “I hope that ultimately Finley will get to stay with us.”
The Griffiths contend that Finley the pig isn’t the same as the farm variety, which can grow to 300 pounds, but rather is a more residential-friendly, miniature type of potbellied pig.
Further, she said she suffers from anxiety that the pig helps with.
At least one of the Griffiths’ neighbors said living next to the pig has been “delightful.”
“I wish they hadn’t put a fence up — I love to see him,” said resident Mary Contino, 73. “It’s a joy to be near them, and it’s brought new life into our community. We need to be tolerant.”
The ordinance on the matter is quite clear, according to solicitor Jim Favero, prohibiting the keeping of swine, hogs or pigs in residential parts of the borough.
Favero told council that as the ordinance stands, they would have little choice but to prohibit Finley’s stay in the borough, but also informed them that they can change it.
Mayor Wayne Dobos previously cited the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s definition of what is and isn’t swine.
According to that information, Finley — miniature-type pig or otherwise — is swine.
However, the Griffiths claim their intent to move into their new home, pig included, was prefaced with calls to the borough seeking guidance on Finley’s acceptability. They say they were told the pig wouldn’t be a problem.
At September’s meeting, Dobos took Destiney Griffith to task for the vague nature of a petition she had been circulating about the pig.
At Tuesday night’s meeting, he again chided her, this time over what he claimed were Facebook posts made by her supporters that he said were attacks on members of the council.
Members of the public responded by accusing Dobos of taking the entire matter as a personal affront and attacking Destiney Griffith.
Matthew Medsger is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4675 or [email protected].