Finley the potbellied pig is no longer welcome in Leechburg
Finley the potbellied pig, who Leechburg officials initially welcomed him to live in his owner’s residence, has lost that permission.
Tuesday night, Leechburg Mayor Wayne Dobos vetoed an animal ordinance that council enacted in May to allow the 50-pound potbellied pig to be classified as a family pet.
Last month, council members Chuck Pascal, Robert “Tom” Foster, Nancy Bono and Christian Vaccaro voted for the ordinance.
As such, the pet pig was allowed to live in the Second Avenue house bought by his owners, Cody and Destiney Griffith. Now, he is in violation of the borough’s animal ordinance.
An irritated Cody Griffith said Leechburg has no priorities.
“They want to tell me which small animal I can have live in my house, but they aren’t attacking drugs,” Griffith said.
“A day ago, I found a bag with heroin needles within blocks of my house. These were used needles. Dangerous.
“It’s very clear that they don’t care about all of the heroin and dangerous needles,” Griffith said.
Mayor Dobos expressed displeasure with the revised ordinance. “I felt I voted in the best interests of the town,” he said.
“The pig is not in compliance. There could have been a mess,” the mayor said. “They could have people keep miniature cows in their houses.”
Dobos had enough council support to make his veto stick.
Revised borough rules require the seven-member council to have a majority plus one to override a mayor’s veto.
Some council members tried to override Dobos’ veto but could only get four of the five votes they needed.
Their veto override attempt failed twice by 4-3 votes because one of the supporters last month, Councilwoman Lorrie Bazella, changed her vote Tuesday night.
Bazella didn’t return calls for comment Tuesday night or Wednesday.
Council members Anthony J. Defilippi, Anthony Roppolo and Bazella voted no — enough to kill the attempt to override the veto.
Councilman Christian Vaccaro said he is disappointed.
He and others worked for a year on the new ordinance. He said Solicitor James Favero worked for hours to write the ordinance and “all of that money for solicitor’s fees are down the drain,” Vaccaro said.
He said the mayor’s reasons for his opposition don’t make sense and objected to Bazella voting.
The mayor said Bazella shouldn’t have voted because she had asked the Griffiths if they would move if the pig isn’t allowed to stay.
“This is all in the mayor’s lap,” Vaccaro said. “He said he wants to take responsibility for it, and the ball is in his court.”
“I guess we try to rewrite an ordinance that can be acceptable to the opponents,” said
Councilman Chuck Pascal, who also is an attorney, said he helped craft the ordinance that allowed for the potbelly pig.
Even if a new animal ordinance is introduced it, will have to be advertised before council could vote again. That will take time, Favero said.
A furious Griffith said in a phone interview that that’s not enough.
“It’s time to sell the house and move out,” he said.
He said the couple bought the house just in September. They also have two dogs.
“Even if someone rewrites the ordinance, the mayor will veto it no matter what,” Griffith said. “The mayor won’t change his opinion.”
“The only thing left for us to do is to move. I’m not going to live somewhere where they will not allow some small animal to live in my home,” Griffith told the Tribune-Review.
“I hope the taxpayers are happy with their priorities.”
Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4711, [email protected] or via Twitter @ChuckBiedka.