Pet Pigs Permitted: One of Several Chincoteague Ordinance Changes


By Carol Vaughn —

The Chincoteague Town Council at the July 6 meeting approved changes to the town ordinances, including one that allows residents to keep a pet pig within town limits.
The code prohibits keeping “one or more hogs” or having a hog pen in town.
The exception that was added allows a resident to keep “a purebred miniature Vietnamese potbellied pig, sus scrofa vittatus, Chinese house pigs or pygmy pigs” or a registered Juliana Pig that is kept “for the sole purpose of providing human companionship.
The pig must by spayed or neutered, must not exceed 120 pounds, must be vaccinated every six months, and and owners must provide upon request of an animal control officer proof that the pig is one of the allowed breeds.
Residents are limited to one pig of the permitted species per household. The pig must live primarily inside the home, but can be exercised outdoors with a fenced enclosure or on a leash.
No pig breeding or sales, and no pig slaughtering, are allowed in residential zoning districts.
“Most people may not know it; we did have a hog farm on the island,” said Mayor J. Arthur Leonard.
Occasionally, the hogs would escape.
“When the pigs would get out, Mom would say, ‘Get inside,’” he said.
Domesticated fowl were added to the list of animals that must be kept in an enclosure, along with horses, ponies, mules, donkey, cattle, sheep, and goats.
In other ordinance action, tobacco waste products were added to the list of items people are prohibited from throwing on sidewalks or streets.
In another change, electric bicycles, scooters, skateboards, hover boards, and similar devices were added to the chapter governing bicycle riding on the roads.
“The Virginia law states that you have to be 14 years of age,” said Councilman Jay Savage of the Ordinance Committee.
“Basically, this subjects them to the same thing as the driver of a vehicle,” he said.
Additionally, the council approved adding four items to regulations governing use of town-owned recreational facilities, including parks and the Island Nature Trail.
The additions make it illegal for a person to solicit or or conduct business in any town park; to engage in any act in the facilities with intent of expecting to receive payment; to display goods or depictions of goods or services with intent to engage the public in a sales transaction; or use the address of any town-owned park for in any transaction for business purposes.
“We identified a case where a business was using a street address at the park as their business address, which we don’t want,” Savage said.
Trolley Route for Locals Proposed
Council members discussed a proposal made by resident Brenda Watson to offer a trolley route catering to local residents.
The proposal is “to use it for locals who need transportation to and from local businesses and actually develop a local route, and to use it, I’m assuming, at other times of year rather than basically the 100 days during summer,” said Town Manager Mike Tolbert.
Watson wrote in the proposal, “I believe there is a need for the locals who live on the island as well. I have seen one resident who walks from Ridge Road to the grocery store on Cleveland.”
Watson suggested the service run one or two days a week during the day.
“I’ve been a little bit of a naysayer of the trolley because I never see many people riding it; but I know it provides a service and it’s here and all that,” said Councilwoman Denise Bowden.
Still, when Bowden read Watson’s letter, Bowden said she thought, “This could be a good thing.”
“If there is a way to make it work, I think it would be an awesome service for the people of Chincoteague,” Bowden said, noting the service could benefit the elderly, people without private transportation, and perhaps even children.
Tolbert said some of the funds that help pay for the trolley come through the Department of Rails and Public Transportation, “the same people that regulate municipal buses in cities, so there is a pathway there to do this. I’m not sure what the regulations would be but we certainly can look into it.”
The council directed Tolbert to look into the proposal and bring recommendations to the council.

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