Mothers fight to get pet 'therapeutic' pigs back for children

Mothers fight to get pet 'therapeutic' pigs back for children
Ocala family fights to keep pet pigs

OCALA, Fla. — A mother of five said she is trying to get her pot-bellied pigs back after a complaint pushed code enforcement to order the animals removed from her home.

Kyla Ward has several special-needs children, and she says the pigs are therapeutic.

"I need those pigs back. It's not the fact of me wanting; I need those pigs back.  They are our family," Ward said.

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Ward and her family said they are upset because their four pot-bellied pigs are gone.

"I have an autistic child. I have an ADHD child and I have an ADD child, as well as an elderly woman who suffers from depression," Ward said.

In addition to being pets, Ward said the pigs serve as therapy animals for her children and her mother-in-law.

She said they were all improving until code enforcement received complaints and threatened to cite the family if they didn't get rid of the animals.

"They're saying that they're livestock. They're not authorized," Ward said.

Charlene Cooper, who lives nearby, said spending time with the pigs helped her special-needs son and daughter as well.

Cooper said that since the pigs were removed, it's all gone downhill since her children found out that their pigs are gone.

"Since then, my house has become a madhouse again. My children are fighting constantly and I'm getting calls from the school," Cooper said.

The two mothers said they have gone to commissioners for help, but have been told that the pigs aren't allowed because of zoning restrictions.

"I have a cow pasture in my back yard, and she has horses right next to her, and I just don't understand why these pigs can't stay, why they can't be here," Ward said.

Ward and Cooper said they are working with an attorney in hopes of getting the county to make an exception and allow the animals to stay.