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Wilbur the Staten Island Pig Given Reprieve From City-Ordered Eviction

By Nicholas Rizzi | January 31, 2017 3:52pm
 The city won't forcefully evict Wilbur the pig from his Staten Island home after outcry from locals and elected officials.
The city won't forcefully evict Wilbur the pig from his Staten Island home after outcry from locals and elected officials.
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DNAinfo/Nicholas Rizzi

GREAT KILLS — Wilbur the Staten Island pig has been given a stay of eviction.

The 180-pound Juliana pig's owner had been ordered by the city to get rid of the porker by Thursday because city law forbids the animals from being kept as pets.

But Mayor Bill de Blasio canceled the eviction and vowed to work with Wilbur's owners to find him a new home after outcry from locals and elected officials.

"The mayor was made aware of the circumstances and directed officials to find a reasonable solution," said spokeswoman Rosemary Boeglin.

"The Health Department is not taking any enforcement actions at this time, but is working closely with the family to find a safe and suitable home for Staten Island’s favorite swine in the coming months."

Family members were delighted to hear the news as they worried taking Wilbur away from his mattress and pillow in their Great Kills living room would kill their beloved pet.

"That’s fantastic, absolutely fantastic," said Carol Matteo, mother of Wilbur's owner Cristy Matteo. "There's no way this pig is going to last outside.

"It's been a tough road," she added.

The family had planned to transport Wilbur to Ross Mill Farm in Pennsylvania Thursday while they fought the decision to kick him out, the Staten Island Advance reported.

Wilbur, whose owner says acts as a service animal for Cristy Matteo's father who's suffering from cancer, has lived in her home for five years. But Wilbur got an eviction notice in August.

Since then, 13,000 people signed a petition asking for Wilbur to be allowed to stay and two state senators and four assembly members sent a letter to beg the city to give him a pardon.

State Sen. Tony Avella, who's running to replace de Blasio as mayor, joined Matteo at her home Thursday to call on the mayor to give the pig a reprieve.

"These animals are used as service animals, they help individuals who may have emotional distress or physical ailments, as in the case of [Matteo's] father," he said at the time.

Pigs are banned as pets for a variety of reasons including aggression and a lack of USDA-approved rabies vaccination for them, the DOH said. They're also not recognized as service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act.