Eric and Rori Halpern live in a very typical community associated with the South Florida lifestyle; that is one with a homeowner's association (HOA) designed to manage subdivisions in such areas as landscaping, maintenance, and insurance.
The couple and their two children live in the Lake Worth subdivision of Cypress Woods and own a 14-month-old pet potbellied pig who has lived with the family over a year; Wilburr Bacone (Wilbur for short) is considered a part of the family.
An HOA meeting is scheduled on Wednesday evening to discuss Wilbur's standing in the community and whether he will be allowed to remain with his family.
Whereas the benefits of an HOA can prevent such ostentatious displays of pink flamingo mailboxes, and painting one's home purple, the association also restricts the rights that otherwise would exist based on municipal codes. Hence comes the argument over a family fighting to keep Wilbur, who has even been classified by the Humane Society of Broward County as a therapy pig.
Wilbur visits assisted care centers and schools. He is walked on a leash, sleeps in the family's laundry room and is house trained. When Wilbur needs to relieve himself, he oinks instead of barks. And that is where the argument comes in! The Cypress Woods Association says that Wilbur is considered livestock; Wilbur's family contends he is the family's pet.
Wilbur also serves as a therapy pig for the couple's two children; one child has ADHD and the other child suffers from Asperger's syndrome. The animal assistance from Wilbur has helped the children; their physicians have even written statements as to the importance of the pig in the childrens' lives.
Ironically in 2012, the Palm Beach County commissioners categorized potbellied pigs as pets and one pig is allowed per home owner; not so with Cypress Woods.
According to the Sun Sentinel, Keith Backer, one of the attorneys for the HOA stated:
This isn't a simple, 'We don't like pigs; the pig's got to go,' or 'We don't like children. It's nothing like that. The homeowner's association has a legal obligation to enforce its rules."
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