Update February 4, 2013: Heather Ray disputes Goehrig's version of events. She contends that she first wrote e-mails to the city announcing her intention to get a therapy pig, and the city told her it was not allowed. She claims she then researched the Americans with Disabilities Act and spoke to representatives at the Department of Justice who told her the city would need to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities.
The Daily Cute Overload: Twinkie and Kason.
Believing that federal law was on her side, Ray bought the pig and wrote letters to commissioners letting them know. It was, then, she says, that a Sun-Sentinel reporter contacted her; the resulting article was followed by scores of other media calls. Ray says the city then told her it would allow the pig, but required her to first get a prescription for therapy animal, then return to the doctor for another script that specified the animal needed to be a hypoallergenic pig.
Ray says the city wanted even more documentation -- such as her husband's allergy tests that would prove a cat or dog would not suffice -- but the allergist said that no pig-allergy tests existed and invoked HIPAA laws. Ray says she then told the city that if it did not give her a waiver, she would file a formal complaint with the Department of Justice, and that within the month, she got her waiver. As of February, Ray reports that the pig and her son are both faring well. The pig is six pounds (could grow to 20) and uses a litter box.
Original story published January 24, 2013: In a coup for pigs, vegans and emotional support animals everywhere the Coral Springs will allow the Ray family to keep Twinkie the pygmy pig thanks to a doctor's prescription for a therapy animal for their son Kason, who has Down syndrome.
The story exploded in the international media in late 2012 when the city attorney ruled the family couldn't keep Twinkie due to a law that categorized pigs as livestock. Without the city's approval the Rays could have been fined up to $500 per day for keeping the pig.More »