Two Autistic Children May Lose Certified Emotional Support Animal, Wilbur the Pot Bellied Pig

FLORIDA- A 65 pound pot bellied pig, named Wilbur, may loose his home. His family, after much research, found that a pot bellied pig could be certified as an emotional support animal.

The bop bellied pig was certified as the Humane Society of Broward County’s first therapy pig . He visits assisted living facilities and many schools  in South Florida with Rori Halpern, who was trained to be his handler.

The Halpern’s who have two young sons both of whom have been diagnosed with ADHD and one with Asperger’s syndrome. The Halpern’s boys took to the pet, named him Wilbur and  have come out of their shells.

In January trouble began. A notice came from the Cypress Woods Home Owner’s Association, saying it wanted the pig removed as a pig is considered livestock and against their association bylaws. An ensuing legal battle began and is till ongoing.

The Home Owners Association is questioning the validity of a pot bellied pig being an emotional support animal. Keith Backer, a lawyer for the Home Owner’s Association, says the Halpern’s must prove that the pig is medically necessary and why they don’t have a dog as a certified emotional support animal.

The Halpern’s stated in the abc News report that Wilbur is,

“Neutered and micro-chipped, Wilbur is also fully house-trained. The pig is just like any other house pet. He sits with the family in the living room and even occasionally sleeps in the bed with one of her two sons.”

This is an ongoing battle as the Halpern’s attorney states they’ve provided all the proper documentation required by law. They have now  filed a complaint under the Fair Housing Act. An Act that protects people who use service or therapy animals from being discriminated against in their housing choices.

The original news story on the ABC News website can be read here

The Halpern’s have also established a petition which can be found here.

ABC News | ABC Sports News