Judge to HOA: Your Potbellied Neighbor Can Stay

JUDGE TO HOA: YOUR POTBELLIED NEIGHBOR CAN STAY 60-lb. porcine Spring resident Wilbur Sardo will not be exiled from The Thicket at Cypresswood subdivision — because his presence in the neighborhood does not violate the local deed restrictions, a Harris County judge ruled today. The pig’s attorney, HOA law specialist Mitchell Katine, tells Chronicle reporter Erin Mulvaney that the decision in the lawsuit filed by the animal’s owners marks “the first time a Vietnamese pot belly pig has been recognized as a pet in court.” The neighborhood’s community improvement association had argued that Wilbur counted as livestock, and was therefore prohibited. The Sardo family began an extensive media campaign around its quest to keep Wilbur after receiving a notice from the association last year that it would be subject to fines of $200 a day if it continued to keep their pet at home. [NewsWatch; previously on Swamplot] Photo: iWilbur.com

18 Comment

  • That’ll do pig. That’ll do.

  • Some pig!

  • A ruling against HOAs during a re-election campaign? Brilliant!

    I smell an appeal, among other things.

  • That will teach the HOA to stick their snout where it doesn’t belong. Congrats to the Sardos!

  • I’m currently in the greater Austin viewing area and this story was the ABC station’s ending blurb tonight.

    The news crew got a good laugh.

  • I served on a jury during a Hurricane Ike-related case involving condominiums that were storm damaged. Mitchell Katine was on the winning side–he is brilliant in the courtroom and it’s no shock he has prevailed again.

  • I’m pretty sure that this pig is less of a nuisance than my dog is.

  • when we bought our home i told the realtor that one requirement was a strong h.o.a. that i preferred this to city wide zoneing and a good h.o.a. and my neighbors was the best protection for my home/neighborhood quality. she said i was the first person to tell her that and most did not like h.o.a.’s.

    now,so all i need is a friendly judge and a sharp lawyer and i can have my daughters horse declared a pet and keep it in a stall in my yard instead of paying for a stable. cool. kangeroos, pigs, pythons (btw: i once lived in central african republic and helped kill a python that was in the process of eating a baby)

  • If a pig isn’t livestock I don’t know what is.

  • Good lawyer, or charming pig? Maybe both.

  • Reprobate and Trey — It’s a potbellied pig-bred specifically to be a pet and not for meat. It’s much smaller than the factory stuffed and relentlessly abused hog. Thanks for bringing up the python incident – it reeks of relevance. kangeroo -really?

  • Not sure but I think in Vietnam, pot-bellied pigs are considered livestock and used a such.

    I’ve never had any problems with strong HOAs, because living in a city with no zoning, these are your last defense against a strip club setting up shop next door.

  • Enforced and maintained deed restrictions have worked for us. Plus having a monetary fund set up just for enforcing those restrictions.

    Oh yeah, it helps to have a lawyer or two in the ‘hood and on the board.

    I agree with miss_msry in that in Vietnam, these pigs are livestock. Or dinner.

  • sriram,
    it is revelant.
    in the houston area there was a recent hoa/homeowner dispute about keeping a kangeroo as a pet for their daughter. homeowners amitted that a grown kangeroo was dangerous but stated they planned on getting rid of it before it was fully grown.
    h.o.a. backed down because the homeowners played the “your are picking on our childs pet” card and the h.o.a. lacked the fortitude to play the “you are spitting in your neighbors eye” card.
    media did not ask any neighbors what they thougt about it nor did the h.o.a. put it to a vote which is good way to handle it.

    pet pythons are already a problem in florida.

    I have also lived in s.e.asia and have been served pot bellied pigs — and that is not revelant because a pet in one culture is a meal in another.

  • how does someone with a kangaroo in their own house/yard bother a neighbor?
    Having a kangroo seems, to me, stupid… but to each their own.

  • From the deed restrictions:

    “The Association may establish other rules and regulations concerning animals and livestock, which rules may specifically exclude certain animals from the Subdivision.”

    That pig’s days are numbered (at least in that subdivision).

    Maybe their attorney could have informed the pig owners of this provision before accepting their money to fight the HOA. “You can pay me a lot of money and [possibly] win this round, but the HOA can ‘establish other rules’ and specifically exclude your pig at any time. You might consider moving, as it would be cheaper and you’d be happier long term.” How hard was that?

  • I do recall the kangaroo case. It wasn’t a kangaroo on a whim. It was meant to help the child who had special needs or autism or a disability (I don’t recall which). They wanted it declared a companion animal.

  • Sriram,
    Its a pig. A pig is a pig is a pig.