Pigs In Our Pen

Miniature pigs can now become pets in Nixa


Mable the pig frolicks in the grass.

Addison Eden, Staff Writer

For those who have always wanted a pet pig, the time has come. On Jan. 11, Nixa passed an ordinance that allows its residents to keep one miniature pig as a pet as long as certain guidelines are followed. Justin Orf, councilman of District III in Nixa, helped pass the ordinance after hearing about a situation involving a constituent. A neighbor put in a complaint about the resident’s pig and chickens, and was given 30 days to get rid of the animals. “This individual served in the Marine Corps and was using the miniature pig for emotional support,” Orf said. “She reached out and wanted to know what her options were to be able to get Penny back to her own home. I worked with her and invited her to come speak at a council meeting so she could explain her situation to the rest of [the] council.” After discussing the issue in the meeting, Orf came to a conclusion that made everyone happy, leading to the ordinance that was recently passed. “I worked with our city attorney and the citizen quite a bit to ensure that there was a balance of protecting city interests with allowing a pet within city limits,” Orf said. “It was a lot of fun to see this process at the very beginning and be able to direct it through the proper channels to get the ordinance that we have today.” Penny’s owner was relieved to get
her pig back after the ordinance was passed, as was one other Nixa resident. Liz Massengale is another owner of a miniature pig, and she calls her pig Mabelline, Mabel for short. “I started doing research into pigs and found out all this information about how intelligent they were and how loving they were and their personalities,” Massengale said. “I thought, you know, that is something I want to know more about.” While taking care of a pig can be easy with proper care and research, it does come with challenges. “You can spoil a dog and have a not greatly behaved dog, but they will follow you and they will still do what you say,” Massengale said. “With a pig, if you spoil them too much, you will have an obstinate child.” Massengale — who lives just outside the Nixa city limit — plans to at some point breed Mabel and start an organization to help educate the citizens of Nixa on the proper care for pet pigs. While this may be helpful for some people that need or want guidance, others like Brock Blansit, a coach at NHS, knows how to take care of a pig from his own experiences. Blansit has a farm and owned pigs before, but he ended up getting rid of them. However, he plans to get more in the future. Blansit’s advice to future pig owners is to make sure the animal’s needs can be met. “Make sure you do your research before getting pigs,” Blansit said. “They need clean bedding, shots and food just like other animals.” Massengale also offers herself as a resource to help educate anyone looking into getting a pet pig or anyone that may want some help or advice. “Thanks to Mabel, I’ve written an instruction booklet — kind of a what to expect when you’re expecting a pig type of thing — that way I can make sure they don’t end up with an animal that isn’t right for them,” Massengale said. “Pigs can be amazing pets for the right people.”