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Akeley council approves pot bellied pig's 'residency'

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Tilly the pot bellied pig may call Akeley "home."

Tilly's nannies, Heather, 5, and Danielle, 7, White waited patiently - with a couple of giggles and pokes - as the Akeley Council waded through the agenda Wednesday evening.

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They learned a bit about city audits, repairs needed on the big lumberjack, replacing parts for a lift station and ATV traffic before the deciding moment arrived.

In May, a motion to amend the city ordinance to allow pot bellied pigs failed on a tie vote. But a subsequent motion to table the issue pending further investigation and a full quorum (Cliff Johnson was absent) earned approval.

Tilly was allowed to stay at Tania Sorvisto's (mom) residence in the interim.

"I've checked with other cities," mayor Scott Vettleson said this week, including Park Rapids. "They don't allow pot bellied pigs."

Jon Johnson agreed with the findings.

But council member Jennifer Mitchell, who'd championed the pig's citizenship last month, said many cities and the USDA consider pot bellied pigs to be domesticated animals and private pets. The Minnesota Department of Tax Revenue, she said, charges sales tax for their food. "In the government's eyes, they're not considered farm animals."

"I see a lot more dogs than pigs running around," Cliff Johnson remarked, noting lizards and birds are more disease-ridden than pigs. "I have no problem with this if it's licensed and kenneled."

Mitchell's motion to change the ordinance to include pot bellied pigs as domesticated animals earned approval on a 3-2 vote, with Vettleson and Jon Johnson opposed, Mitchell, Cliff Johnson and Troy Hegg voting affirmative.

Hegg requested vaccination records be presented at the next meeting.

Tilly is expected to make a guest appearance at Paul Bunyan Days.

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