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Outgoing mayor pardons incoming mayor's pet pig

January 6, 2009 | 12:39 pm

Pot-bellied pigs

When Bob Crowell, the mayor-elect of Carson City, Nev., was running for office last year, he had to give up his pot-bellied pig (it's illegal to keep pigs and other farm animals in most residential parts of the city). 

The pig, Arnold, is aging (Crowell has had him for 10 years), nearly blind and arthritic -- so when Crowell left him with a rescue group, he had some reservations.  "I've always been concerned that a move would be difficult for Arnold," the new mayor told the Nevada Appeal.  Mostly, he just wanted to make sure Arnold found a good home.  But why the need to re-home him in the first place?  The Nevada Appeal explains:

The issue of candidates' pets came up in June before the primary election when then-candidate-for-mayor Pete Hansell objected to the city code. Animal services got complaints from Hansell's neighbors and told him to get rid of his seven Rhode Island red chickens.

Carson City residents who knew Arnold even thought about protesting what they considered a dirty political trick to force Crowell to get rid of a beloved pet.  (One resident acquainted with Arnold said the pig slept curled up near his family like a pet dog.)

Enter outgoing Mayor Marv Teixeira, a three-term veteran, who surprised most everyone Monday when he issued a last-minute mayoral pardon to Arnold.  From the Nevada Appeal:

The arthritic senior citizen "in pig years" should be exempt from city code, returned from a rescue group and be allowed to spend his last years with the Crowell family, [Judge Todd Russell, who performed the swearing-in ceremony] read to a crowded room in the Carson City Community Center.

"Now, therefore, I, Marv Teixeira, Mayor of Carson City, Nevada, do hearby proclaim Jan. 5, 2009, as 'Arnold's Plight' Awareness Day in Carson City," Russell read, "and acting in the capacity which I was elected by the citizens of Carson City and as my final act in such capacity, do hearby grant a full, complete and unconditional pardon to Arnold, the pot-bellied pig."

"Let’s bring Arnold home," Russell read.

The Carson City district attorney's office said the proclamation had no legal bearing on Arnold's case, although the new mayor expressed his appreciation for the "ceremonial" pardon. 

The Nevada Board of Pardons Commissioners does not plan to look further into the case, said a representative for Gov. Jim Gibbons (a board member).  As for outgoing Mayor Teixeira?  He didn't even check to see if he had the authority to make such a pardon, he told the Nevada Appeal, adding, "It was the right thing to do and I did it."

Pot-bellied pigs are prohibited in many urban and suburban areas (although they're legal in Los Angeles -- assuming they're licensed, stand less than 20 inches high at the shoulder and weigh less than 120 pounds -- according to PetPigZone).

--Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Pigs at a Solvang-area pot-bellied-pig rescue center. Credit: Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times

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