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New York man fights to keep beloved emotional support pig

A New York man refuses to give up a pet pig that he says helped through some of the toughest times in his life. Local officials, however, say the pig is living in the house illegally.

Wyverne Flatt lives in the village of Canajoharie with his pet potbellied pig, Ellie. The Associated Press reports that Flatt has registered Ellie as an emotional support animal that helped him get through his divorce and the death of his mother.

Wyverne Flatt is fighting to keep his pot-bellied pig Ellie as an emotional support animal.

Wyverne Flatt is fighting to keep his pot-bellied pig Ellie as an emotional support animal.
(AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

Flatt bought Ellie in 2018 while he was still living in South Carolina. When he first brought her home, she was as big as a shoe.

Since then, he moved from South Carolina to Canajoharie. A village code officer discovered Ellie in 2019 and informed Flatt that it was illegal to house Ellie in Canajoharie.

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Flatt first bought Ellie in 2018 while he was still living in South Carolina.

Flatt first bought Ellie in 2018 while he was still living in South Carolina.
(AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

“I could never dream of giving away somebody whose part of my family,” Flatt explained. “She’s very smart. She’s more intelligent than my dogs. I think she can kind of hone in on you when you’re feeling bad because she’ll want to come in and snuggle with you.”

Since then, local officials have determined that Flatt is in violation of local zoning laws. Flatt argues that since Ellie is an emotional support animal, the local government has rules saying that it must provide him with reasonable accommodation.

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Since then, Flatt moved to upstate New York only to find out that local officials consider him keeping the pig to be a violation of local rules.

Since then, Flatt moved to upstate New York only to find out that local officials consider him keeping the pig to be a violation of local rules.
(AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

Flatt’s neighbors, meanwhile, have signed affidavits saying that they like Ellie.

Local officials have argued that they have attempted to provide Flatt with reasonable accommodations, but he hasn’t met the standards. They also argue that Flatt didn’t legitimately have Ellie registered as an emotional support animal.

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A trial was scheduled for March, but it has since been delayed. If the court rules against Flatt, he could face jail time or could have Ellie taken away from him.

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