The Department of Health (DOH) ordered Staten Island, NY resident Thomas Matteo to remove “Wilbur the Pig” from his home by January 31, due to a state ban on “owning” pigs. According to Matteo’s daughter Christie, the DOH said that if Matteo did not comply, the organization would “seize [the pig] and dispose of him the way they want.” Wilbur is registered as an Emotional Support Animal on the National Service Animal registry, as he provides companionship for Matteo—who was recently diagnosed with cancer for the second time. “The minute my dad walks through the door, Wilbur will go lay down in front of his chair, before he can even sit down,” Christie said. “He’ll roll over and just be laying there, waiting for him to scratch his belly. That alone brings his stress levels down tremendously.” According to Christie, Wilbur belongs in her father’s home, so she partnered with state senator Tony Avella to propose a law allowing pigs under 200 pounds to live as companion animals within residences. The deadline for Wilbur’s removal was extended due to Tuesday’s inclement weather, and the family is pleading that NY mayor Bill de Blasio allow for Wilbur to stay in the home indefinitely. Meanwhile, pigs who are raised, housed, and slaughtered across the state’s many farms are mysteriously exempt from New York’s pig ownership law.
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