Updated: May 12
By now, most of the Westside has heard about the pot-bellied pig of Bridgetown: Charlotte. Charlotte has quickly become a rising star in Cincinnati, and people of all ages love engaging with her on their daily walks around the neighborhood. Personally, I loved meeting her. She truly brought me joy in this crazy world in which we're living right now. I'm 34 years old and she brings me happiness; I can only imagine the giddiness felt by young children when they see her as well.
The feeling of happiness of seeing a neighborhood pet had me thinking of my time growing up in Bridgetown. I grew up in a cat household and my neighbors had dogs that I fondly remember. There were the Golden Retrievers Murphy and Casey, Dewey the Black Lab, and Patches the cat. I still think about them over 25 years later. Can you imagine the memories the neighborhood children will have about Charlotte? I would have loved to say I hung out with a pot-bellied pig when I was a kid!
Charlotte's newfound fame has come with an unfortunate setback, and her fate in Bridgetown is up in the air. It all started with one single complaint, filed by a neighbor, to the Rural Hamilton County Zoning Commission. The zoning commission informed Charlotte's owner that she violates code, as having a pet pig in the backyard is considered having livestock; however, Charlotte is a pet, NOT livestock. Livestock is defined as "domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce labor and commodities such as meat, eggs, milk, fur, leather, and wool." According to an interview from Local 12 with Charlotte's owner, "Charlotte is not livestock. You don't raise pot-bellied pigs to send them to slaughter, to eat them. They are pets."
Most neighbors adore Charlotte and welcome her as a great addition to the neighborhood. All comments on Facebook postings about Charlotte's predicament have been positive, stating that she's well taken care of and also a member of the family. I have found no complaints on Facebook of smell or noise coming from her nor the yard. When I met her, the yard was clean, and I didn't notice any sort of odor typically associated with pigs. The consensus is that the neighborhood would be heartbroken if Charlotte were to be taken away.
This consensus is further solidified: as of 12:20 pm May 7th, the online petition, "Save Charlotte the Pot-Bellied Pig" on change.org, has over 14,000 signatures. That's a lot of people that care about this pig. If you would like to show your support as well, please sign the petition!
If you are interested in visiting her, here are some guidelines for doing so. First of all, if you can walk to see her, please do so, as we don't want to cause traffic issues for the neighborhood. Practice social distancing (which, according to Facebook postings from neighbors and the owner, is already happening), and, if possible, bring her a treat! She loves fruit, especially bananas, but does not care for carrots and celery. And ultimately, have fun with her!
It's great seeing the community rally around Charlotte; however, her fate is ultimately in the hands of the zoning board. Unfortunately, it only took one neighbor to jeopardize the joy she has brought the neighborhood. All we can do now is continue to support Charlotte, her owner, and the Westside community which she enhances. Make sure to send us your pictures of Charlotte to show that we love this pot-bellied pig of Bridgetown. #SaveCharlotte #CharlotteStrong