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Queens Co-op Board Sues to Evict Pet Pig Named Petey

By James Fanelli | August 26, 2013 6:40am
 A Whitestone coop board has gone to court to get the city to remove Petey the Pig from the apartment he lives in with his owners, Danielle and Louis Forgione.
Petey the Pig
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WHITESTONE — A Queens co-op board has squealed to the city that a pet pig living in one of its apartments has overstayed his welcome.

The board filed a lawsuit on Aug. 16, demanding that the city Health Department evict Petey the pig, who has lived with his owners, Danielle and Louis Forgione, for more than a year.

The lawsuit claims that under a city order, the Forgiones had until July 1 to get rid of their porcine pal. But that wiggle room has long since expired, and Petey is still living high on the hog in their Whitestone apartment, the lawsuit says.

The Forgiones also continue to walk Petey in the coop’s common area, frightening other residents, according to the lawsuit.

City rules forbid residents from keeping pigs as pets as they’re considered wild animals.

In January, after receiving complaints for months, the city Health Department notified the Forgiones that Petey had to go. After an administrative hearing, the agency ordered the Forgiones to get rid of the pig by July 1.

The order notes that pigs pose public health risks and begin to bite and scratch when they reach 12 to 18 months in age.

Petey is now 18 months old, but Danielle Forgione told DNAinfo New York that those health warnings are hogwash.

"Have you ever once turned on the news and seen a pig mauling its owner?" she asked. "I've never heard of it. I've never heard of a rabies outbreak in pig."

The Forgiones bought Petey in April 2012 to cope with the death of Danielle's brother. She and her husband picked the pig because their children are allergic to regular pet hair.

"I'm sure people are like, 'Are you kidding me, a pig?'" Danielle said. "He's so much easier than a dog. He was completely house broken within two days. He's smart and fits right into our family.

"He sleeps all day. He's quiet like a cat. I walk him like a dog and curb him. The only thing we've gotten is positive feedback."

In February, the family held a rally with state Sen. Tony Avella to shed light on the pig's plight, but the order remained in effect.

The order granted the Forgiones 45 extra days after the July 1 deadline if they found someone to buy their apartment and moved out, but so far they don't have a taker. The home has been on the market since January.

The board is suing the Forgiones and the Health Department. It says it notified the Health Department on July 11 that Petey hadn't hit the road, but the agency didn't respond.

The lawsuit, filed in Queens Civil Supreme Court, demands that the agency “seize and dispose of” Petey.

A city Law Department spokeswoman declined to comment, noting the agency had not yet received the lawsuit.