When they met Thursday, members of the Lansing City Council denied three requests for exceptions to an animal ordinance.
The requests came in the form of applications for special use permits. Two of the applications sought exceptions to a city limitation of four animals per household. In each of these cases, the applicants already own more than four animals.
The other application sought an exception to a city ban on pigs in residential areas. In this case, the applicant already owns the pigs.
Animal Control Officer Jim Magee said these three cases came to his attention as a result of complaints.
Jason and Sarah Crooks were on hand Thursday to ask that they be allowed to keep two pigs they already have at their home.
The animals were described as miniature pigs. Jason Crooks said the pigs only will grow to 14.5 to 15 inches tall and each weigh at most 45 pounds.
“We train them like dogs,” Sarah Crooks said.
Councilwoman Andi Pawlowski suggested tabling the matter so council members could learn more about the pigs. She said she didn’t know enough about this type of miniature pigs.
Councilman Don Studnicka said, “They’re still pigs.”
“My concern is where do we stop,” Councilman Gene Kirby said.
Council members approved a motion to deny the special use permit.
The vote was 5-2 with Pawlowski and Councilman Gregg Buehler voting against the motion. Councilman Kerry Brungardt was absent.
Another applicant, Lesley Andring, sought a special use permit to enable her to have more than four animals at her residence. She said she has six cats and four dogs at her residence.
“They’re my family,” Andring said of her animals.
She said she’s had the same number of animals for many years.
Mayor Ken Bernard said the four-pet rule has been in effect for a long time. He said Andring had been able to avoid problems because there previously had not been a complaint.
Council members voted 7-0 to deny Andring’s request.
The other special use permit request was made by Machrina Blasdell and Michael Munro to allow them to have two dogs and seven cats at their residence.
Blasdell addressed the council members regarding the request. She acknowledged that in the past she has trapped six cats that were traveling through her neighborhood and had them neutered and vaccinated for rabies.
Two of the cats she trapped are now among the seven cats that live in her home.
Kirby expressed concern that Blasdell may end up trapping someone’s pet.
A neighbor, Bill Terrell, also spoke to the council. He complained that Blasdell allows her cats to roam outside during the day.
Blasdell said she doesn’t allow the seven cats that live in her house outdoors. She said she doesn’t consider the strays that are outside part of her household.
Pawlowski suggested that Blasdell call Magee to pick up cats that she traps in the future.
Council members voted 7-0 to deny the special use permit.