New home for pigs keeps Elyria woman out of jail

Pot-bellied pigs led to neighbor dispute

ELYRIA, Ohio - A Lorain County woman has avoided jail time by removing two pot-bellied pigs from her property.

The peaceful neighborhood on Boston Avenue in Elyria changed for the worse last fall and it all began with a gift.

The gift, given to Tammy Wilson by her friend Angela Liddle, was a pot-bellied pig.

Wilson named the pig Fred and soon purchased another pig, Diamond, to keep Fred company. She had plans to  breed the miniature porkers for some extra income.

When the pigs were small enough to sleep in a shoe box, Wilson kept them in the house and trained them to use a litter box. As they grew, now at about 50 to 60 pounds apiece, that didn't work out so well.

"I eventually trained them to go to the door and want to go outside," said Wilson. "They got to where they liked staying outside so I eventually made my backyard their home."

In Wilson's backyard, Fred and Diamond were able to freely roam, cool off in a small mud pit and get out of the sun in a small shelter she had made in the back of the yard.

Neighbors Cheryl and Wes Welton said they don't object to living next door to Fred and Diamond, but feel Wilson doesn't clean up the animal's mess in a timely manner. 

"It stinks back there, especially in this heat," said Mrs. Welton.

They say it became so bad they they stopped using their back yard for family outings. The smell, they said, was constant. Welton said she and her husband have worked hard for 13 years to create a pleasant place to live. For them, it's not the pigs, but how they're being cared for that is the issue.

"My daughter, when she was little, had a pot-bellied pig." Mrs. Welton told NewsChannel5. "It's not that we dislike them. We do not like what it has created."

The Elyria City Health Department had visited Wilson's home several times because of complaints of unsanitary conditions outside. In May, Wilson was ordered by the Elyria court to remove pig droppings at least once every 24 hours to avoid jail time. She was later found in non-compliance of the ruling and Elyria Municipal Court Judge Lisa Locke Graves gave her the option of either removing the pigs by July 10, or spend 20 days in jail.

"My health is not good enough to go sit in jail for 20 days," said Wilson.

While Wilson was pondering the fate of Fred and Diamond, Liddle showed up at her friend's house Thursday with some good news.

"There's a lady out in Vermilion that already has two pot-bellied pigs at her house now and she'll keep them safe."

The Weltons' were glad to hear the news as well.

"Thank God," said Mrs. Welton. "You know, that's all I ask."

And the arrangement, Liddle told Wilson, included full visitation rights. 

NewsChannel5 has confirmed that Fred and Diamond are currently in their new home in Vermilion.

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