8-Year-Old Special Needs Boy Should Be Allowed to Keep His Pet Pig No Matter How Many Laws It Breaks

Rant 23

baby pigAn 8-year-old boy is at the center of a legal dispute in Coral Springs, Florida, all because a city ordinance prohibits people from keeping certain kinds of animals as pets.

Kason Ray has Down Syndrome and was given a therapy pig named Twinkie to help him with his developmental and speech delays. His parents chose to give him the Juliana pig as a therapy animal instead of a dog or other pet because Kason's dad and brother are allergic to many types of animals.

And since the little boy has had the pig, his mom has already noticed a difference in him. Heather Ray said, "You know, he does get mad. He throws fits. He doesn’t like things, and Twinkie has a very calming effect on him. It mellows him out, it calms him down. It’s so good for him. He loves her so much."

Ok, so what gives? Why is having a pig such a big problem if it is something that helps a special needs child? Well, according to the communication and marketing director for the city of Coral Springs, Bob Goehrig, "A city ordinance does not allow pigs as pets. Pigs are considered livestock. If the Rays can show us there is a medical necessity and can bring documentation, we’ll be glad to look into it."

And here's where the frustration for the Ray family really kicks in -- Heather filed all of the proper paperwork to obtain a waiver for the ordinance, including a note from Kason's doctor saying that a therapy pet was recommended to help him with his disabilities.

So basically, the city has their documentation, but they still won't grant the waiver, and now the family could be faced with fines costing up to $500 per day for breaking the ordinance.

Um, is anyone else just a little bit outraged over this?

Because as a mother, it seems almost like a mild form of torture to take away not only a child's beloved pet, but a pet that is necessary to help him cope with his medical struggles on a daily basis.

I may not be the parent of a special needs child, but I still experience the same feelings of joy and pride when my son learns something new, or finds something that he can love and connect with.

Heather Ray must burst at the seams with happiness when she sees Kason interact with that pig, so the idea of either being fined for having it or possibly being forced to take it away from her son forever must be tearing her apart.

Rules were made to be broken, or at the very least, there are exceptions to every rule. And if the city of Coral Springs has any sort of heart, they'll let the poor kid keep his pig and move on to real problems that need to be dealt with.

Do you think Kason should be allowed to keep the pig? Or was his mother wrong to go against the city ordinance in the first place?


Image via ozmafan/Flickr

developmental delays, special needs, pets


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Maevelyn Maevelyn

Why didn't she file for the exception sooner. I'm really surprised this is happening in Florida. Generally speaking it's a little too easy to get off beat pets here. (As opposed to Hawaii where it's nearly impossible or Califorina.) 

Maevelyn Maevelyn

wait is this like a teacup pig or a big ass eating pig? Because if it's not a pet breed those people are flipping nuts. 

Vegeta Vegeta

If the doctor gives them a prescription for it, and that specific animal was assigned to the boy for medical reasons, it is a service animal protected under the ADA. Good luck fining these people or raking away the pig Florida, you'll have an enormous problem on your hands.

BiBi Frederick Waltslady

That is horrible!! I live in the city of Coral Springs very nice area, what confuses me though is that if a stray dog is running around with no collar they take pics of the animal and post it on the city's tv guide channel in hopes the owner will recognize it and pick it up instead of taking it to the pound, but a child with special needs who needs this pig as a service animal cant keep it, because it is considered livestock is absolutely ridiculous especially if they filed the proper paperwork.  This just makes me sad.


I wouldn't want a pig as a neighbor.

Happy... Happydad73

I am so sick and tired of the ridiculous excuse 'rules were made to be broken'!! No, in fact, they were not. Based on your idiodic notion, should I be allowed to bring a gun onto a plane? How about burning leaves in the street? Maybe I should start parking my big SUV on your front lawn because, hey, rules were meant to be broken. There are plenty of good medical reasons for him to keep his pet, but not because rules were meant to be broken.

bills... billsfan1104

Did the doctor prescribe the pig or just a pet? Is this really a therapy pig, like there are therapy dogs and cats? Where did they get the pig?

CPN322 CPN322

Bring on the rules are rules bullshit.

CPN322 CPN322

PRIMA487  - pigs are actually very cleanly, intelligent creatures contrary to popular belief.

Sarah UsedtobeZech Cone

Considering that the father and other sibling have severe pet allergies and are unable to get your typical house pet, ( I read this in an article yesterday)   and the fact that it's doctor prescribed,improves the life of this boy and family, they have given all the requested paperwork;I don't see why this is an issue. Geez, just let the boy have his pig. I highly doubt that it'll lead to an influx of people in the town buying porky for pets and waking em  down Main Street. Damn.

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