Pet micro-pig returns to owner's Ramsbottom shop

A pet pig who was banned from his owner's shop by a council has been allowed back in after the discovery of a legal loophole.

Micro-pig Patrick was prevented by Lancashire County Council from accompanying his owner Lee White from Rossendale to his store in Ramsbottom.

The council said he was livestock and must not travel and spread disease.

Mr White overcame the ban by asking the rural affairs department for a walking licence and registering as a farmer.

The 10-month-old pig, who is bathed twice a week and greets customers at Mr White's outdoor clothing store on Silver Street, has been the subject of a petition by customers.

'Ridiculous limitations'

More than 600 people have backed Mr White's campaign to get micro-pigs reclassified as pets rather than livestock to prevent restrictions on their movements.

Mr White said: "On this occasion I registered with Defra as a pig farmer and applied for a walking licence in order to walk him from my car to the shop, but that's using a legal loophole that most owners won't know about.

"The campaign goes on as I want micro-pigs classed as pets because it's ridiculous to say they are livestock and to put limitations on them.

"Patrick is our pet. He lives in the house with us and never comes into contact with any livestock, so there's no chance that he's going to spread something like foot-and-mouth.

"He's more likely to catch a human cold than anything else," said Mr White, who carries banana treats for Patrick and plays ball with him at the shop.

Lancashire County Council said when it imposed the ban in January that the pig needed to remain in one place for at least 20 days and 20 nights.

But Mr White's walking licence, which covers the stretch of pavement between where he parks his car and the entrance to his shop, enables Patrick to make this one specific journey every day.

However The Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) stressed: "Pigs are the same animals biologically, whether they're kept in the farmyard or in someone's house.

"These rules are in place to prevent and control the spread of disease - and it's really important for all pig owners, as well as the wider public, that they're followed."

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