Nixa resident leads effort to allow miniature pigs as pets

Published: Jan. 16, 2021 at 10:11 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 16, 2021 at 10:25 PM CST
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NIXA, Mo. (KY3) - Miniature pigs are now allowed as pets in Nixa after the city council passed an ordinance last week.

Nixa resident Angelina Engebretson got her miniature pig, Penny, in 2019. She was unaware that they weren’t allowed in city limits at the time.

“Animal control came in October and said we had some complaints,” said Engebretson.

They gave Angelina a week to re-home her little ham.

”I talked to animal control first and said, ‘what do we do to keep her in our home?’ He said, ‘why don’t you reach out to city council,’” said Engebretson.

That’s exactly what she did.

”I went to my direct nextdoor neighbors and said would you write me a letter? I went door to door in my neighborhood and I had a petition. I called all the representatives and I said, ‘hey, this is who I am and I’m going to be at the next meeting fighting for my pig,’” said Engebretson.

She presented in front of the council requesting an ordinance change.

“Council instructed staff to research the issue a little bit and present the information back to them,” said Drew Douglas, a spokesperson with the city of Nixa.

Nixa City Council unanimously approved her request with some exceptions.

  • Must be registered annually at Nixa City Hall.
  • Only one mini pig per housing unit
  • No breeding allowed
  • Not allowed to run at large
  • Must keep current vaccination against rabies
  • Must be microchipped and contact info on microchip must be updated annually
  • Must trim and maintain tusks so not visible outside the animal’s mouth.

After a few months away from home Penny reunited with her humans on Monday. Angelina said she’s happy to have her pig back.

”Penny is like another one of the kids. She had our hearts from when we first brought her home and when she was torn apart from us. It was devastating,” said Engebretson.

Seven Hills Veterinary Clinic in Nixa said if you’re considering to get a miniature pig to do your research and educate yourself first. Veterinarian Dr. Ana Smith specializes in treating exotic animals. She said, despite the name miniature pig, they can grow up to 150 pounds.

“Really doing the research and reach out to reputable breeder and make sure you get information and see the parents on sight if possible. So you have a better chance of getting a pig under that weight limit,” said Veterinarian Dr. Ana Smith with Seven Hills Veterinary Clinic.

Smith said miniature pigs are similar to dogs and cats. They require wellness visits, yearly vaccinations and training.

“Once you have them they need vaccinations. It’s recommended they start vaccinations at around eight to 12-weeks old. There’s some core vaccines that are recommend that you can speak to your veterinarian about,” said Smith.

While it’s not required to spay or neuter your pig, Smith recommends it.

“Not only can they have same medical issues as in dog and cats like infection of the uterus and certain reproductive cancers. One of the big things owners can see and complain about is behavioral, and that’s true for males and females,” said Smith.

Smith recommends the website, American Mini Pig Association for information and to contact your veterinarian for any additional questions.

“If you don’t know what to expect and you don’t have realistic expectations there are a lot of these pigs that have to be re-homed to sanctuaries or moving to a farm because they’re larger than what the owners were expecting, or they do have behaviors like rooting that an owner wasn’t expecting as well and they’re just not prepared for that,” said Smith.

The city of Nixa shared this post Wednesday regarding miniature pigs in city limits:

On January 11, 2021, Nixa City Council voted to adopt an ordinance (2020-115) which allows Nixa residents to keep...

Posted by City of Nixa - Municipal Government on Wednesday, January 13, 2021

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