Health Department says pigs should be allowed in Madison

September 07, 2023 1:41 PM

The change comes as local celebrity Rudi the pig was forced out of the city earlier this year.

By: Nate Wegehaupt

MADISON, Wis. (WMDX) – Rudi the pig may have had his bacon saved after the city-county health department voted unanimously to allow some pigs in the city of Madison.

Under the proposed change, pigs would be allowed within the city of Madison if they are under 300 pounds, up to date on vaccinations, and microchipped with the owner’s name, address, and phone number.

Rudi is a 140 pound Juliana miniature pig who used to live with his owners on the city’s west side. Rudi lived adjacent to a neighborhood bike path, making him a minor celebrity in the area. But this past July, Public Health Madison Dane County received a complaint about the pig. 

City ordinance currently does not allow any pigs within city limits, and so Rudi had to go. He was moved to a nearby family farm while city leaders decided what to do with the pig.

Rudi’s owner Paula Niedenthal told the Wisconsin State Journal that they were never ticketed for Rudi’s presence in Madison, but he was asked to leave. 

The removal of Rudi the pig brought calls from the community to change the ordinance, with signs reading “Save Rudi the Pig” appearing along the trail he once called home.

The amendment to the ordinance banning pigs was brought forward by District 13 Alder Tag Evers, District 5 Alder Regina Vidaver, and District 15 Alder Dina Nina Martinez-Rutherford. 

While some concerns were raised that allowing pigs would open the floodgates of allowing other animals in Madison, the board of Public Health passed the amendment unanimously last night. It now goes for final approval by the Madison Common Council on September 19.

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