A Chilliwack man whose illegal pet pig died in 2021 after it had to be re-homed due to a bylaw violation has started a petition called Hamson’s Law.
The goal is to change a Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) bylaw to allow people to have pigs as pets in Chilliwack and beyond, Eli Gagne said.
He and his family had a pig named Hamson on their property in Chilliwack for about a year and a half, from December 2019 to August 2021. He was just 12 weeks old when they got him.
Gagne got a call from animal control with the FVRD on Aug. 5, 2021 after a neighbour made a complaint about the 70-pound miniature pot-bellied pig in Gagne’s backyard.
According to the FVRD bylaw, livestock are not allowed as pets within a residence or on real property.
Details of the complaint were not revealed to Gagne and he was given a week to re-home Hamson, or face a fine of $100 per day.
The family was forced to find a new home for Hamson, so they relocated him to a hobby farm in Kelowna on Aug. 8, 2021.
Four hours after arriving at his new home, Hamson died.
“It’s bad enough to have to be re-homed, but then passing away because of stress and anxiety,” Gagne said during an interview with The Chilliwack Progress in 2021.
He died because of the move, Gagne said, adding he couldn’t find a local farm that would take Hamson.
“No farm in the area would take him because he’s not considered livestock by their standards,” Gagne said.
He said there’s a “grey area” in the bylaw and FVRD should make a distinction between a pig in a residential area that is a pet and one that is livestock.
He has now started a petition to amend Bylaw No. 1206 to allow for the keeping of one, two or three pigs – classified as livestock as pets – on private property.
It’s called ‘Hamson’s Law - A petition to allow for pigs to be kept as pets.’
“Understanding there are reasons why pigs are not to be kept on ‘real property’ it is possible to do so in a manner that minimizes these issues,” the online petition reads.
Gagne said Hamson was cared for like a family dog and he and his family loved him like a pet.
“The issues of keeping livestock on real property, such as noise issues and manure disposal can be rectified by an individual if they have the mind to do so – as the Gagnes did, and as any reasonable adult should be able to do,” the petition states. “It is also not the regional district’s business which animal a family chooses to love, if that family does so in a responsible manner.”
To read and sign the petition, go to thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/554/756/615.