Lawsuit Ponders Whether Pig Is a Pet

An Ohio HOA recently learned the hard way that discrimination lawsuits arising out of pet restrictions aren’t limited to disability-related claims. That’s one lesson from the association’s attempts to remove a pig from its premises; the other is that poorly worded restrictions can backfire.

“I’ve seen disputes with atypical pets, but it’s usually when there’s a reasonable accommodation request based on a disability,” says David Muller, a shareholder and board-certified specialist in condominium and planned development law with the Naples, Fla., office of Becker & Poliakoff.

In this circumstance, though, the animal-loving owner accused the association of discriminating against her based on her national heritage.

According to local media reports, the pig owner was born in Vietnam and moved to the United States when she was about six years old. Before she left, though, she’d had a pet pig that she cherished. In 2018, the woman and her husband purchased a pig they named Arnold Ziffel and brought her (yes, Arnold is female) into their home in a subdivision near Springboro, Ohio.

More than two years later, the homeowners association for the subdivision filed a lawsuit in state court against the couple, seeking a temporary restraining order to remove the pig. The couple responded by filing their own federal lawsuit against the association. They accused it of unlawful housing discrimination based on the wife’s Vietnamese heritage.

Learn how the case shook out, and the lessons you can take from it:

Owner’s Pot-Bellied Pig Leads To Unusual Discrimination Lawsuit

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Matt Humphrey

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