The sound of squealing tires could be heard in the Marathon Government Center this past Tuesday after city council members ruled on an ordinance that will have community-wide ramifications.
Marathon’s mayor and legendary pig racing promoter Mike Cinque was certainly irritated enough to sizzle like an skillet of angry, crispy bacon at the recent city council meeting when the governing body took up an ordinance to govern pet pigs. (A total of four reside in the city limits.)
This isn’t the first time the council or city staff has addressed pig law and the matter has hogged the attention of many since its introduction in January. The result is an ironclad cage for the little piggies of Marathon — or simply an “adequate enclosure” as prescribed by the new law.
A recently unclassified staff report outlined eight amendments to the proposed piggy law via a memorandum with suggestions attributed to “City Councilmembers.” Aptly named City Councilmember Chris Bull seemed in favor of most of the eight items, paraphrased here:
1. Only miniature Vietnamese pigs should be allowed.
2. Breeding of pigs is prohibited. (Casual co-mingling not addressed.)
3. Male pigs four weeks and older must be neutered and female pigs four months and older shall be spayed.
4. Pigs cannot weigh more than 200 pounds.
5. Pigs shall be “controlled” by leash, tether or pig pen when outside.
6. A fence along the property line is not enough; the pigs must also have a pig pen that meets setback requirements.
7. The pig’s area must be cleaned once a week. The pig’s smell shall not bother the neighbors.
8. If the pig poops, pick it up.
The council did not consider such matters as whether it’s legal for a pig to cross the Overseas Highway as they are notorious slow-porks; nor how owners should address broken pig pens (use a pencil).
When it was mentioned on the dais that items 2 and 3 seemed contradictory, the mayor admonished the audience to silence.
“Don’t be laughing,” snorted Cinque.
Council members agreed that items 1 and 4 were as unwieldy as a 4-H Reserve Champion Market Hog at the Monroe County Fair at Islamorada’s Founders Park (MM 87).
“We can’t be out there weighing pigs,” Cinque said. Councilwoman Ginger Snead said certain breeds should not be outlawed.
“We don’t want to be DNA-ing pigs,” she said.
In the end — butt, sirloin and shank — the council only voted to approve items 2, 3, 5 and 6. By the end of the deliberation, council member Bull seemed to have lost his voice. In fact, he seemed dis(grunt)led.
City staff was directed to prepare the amended ordinance and bring it back before the council. No doubt, staff is a little apprehensive to cast the “pearls before swine” … lest the populace “turn and tear [them] into pieces” (Matthew 7:6).