A homeowners association was delivered a blow Monday when a judge ruled that a Spring family’s Vietnamese pot-bellied pig can in fact be considered a household pet. The Thicket at Cypresswood Community Improvement Association had claimed that the family violated their deed restrictions by keeping “livestock” in their home.
“The evidence is clear that these pigs have been kept and used as pets,” Harris County Judge Mike Engelhart said, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The Sardo family had been embroiled in a legal battle to save Wilbur, their porky friend, from eviction by the homeowners’ association since April 2011. Their legal trouble began “after a neighbor squealed” on them, the Houston Chronicle reported, and the homeowners association sent them a letter instructing them to remove the animal.
The family held that their pot-bellied friend was just like any other domesticated animal, telling the Houston Chronicle that he “plays with [the] dog and children, sleeps in the laundry room and is house-trained.” After months exchanging letters with the HOA’s lawyers, Missy and Alex Sardo filed their own lawsuit against the association hoping to win pet status for their beloved swine. (To represent them in court, the Sardos hired Mitchell Katine, a specialist in HOA law who also happens to be the lawyer who originally argued the landmark Lawrence v. Texas case.)
Over the course of the last several months, Wilbur has amassed a drove of supporters. He has his own Facebook page and a blog at wilbursardo.com. Fans used the latter website to stay updated on the latest developments in the fight for Wilbur’s fate, donate to his legal fund, and watch live footage of at feeding times in the Sardo backyard each day at 7:30 a.m. or 4 p.m.
Watch ABC 13‘s report on Wilbur’s victory and Missy Sardo’s relief at the “unbelievable” outcome: