BROCKTON — His love of the streets ultimately proved to be Porkchop’s undoing.
Now the perapatetic porker is banned from Brockton.
Porkchop, a lovable 125-pound pot-bellied pig, was simply caught too many times enjoying a stroll down Silver Road, where he lives with owner Anthony Ruiz.
In past year, he has been apprehended five times for being at large in the neighborhood, said Megan Hanrahan, the city’s animal inspector. Animal control officers have responded to Porkchop-related issues on a total of 15 occcasions, she said.
While Porkchop is a harmless, friendly pig, Hanrahan said, he has become a safety concern that could endanger pedestrians and drivers, as well as himself. The Board of Health decided earlier this month to revoke Ruiz’s pet pig permit and gave him until Oct. 19 to remove Porkchop from the city.
But Ruiz said that as he was getting ready to transport Porkchop to a new home Oct. 19, animal control officials “kidnapped” the pig from the front yard of his brother’s home two doors down, put him in the city kennel, and filed a request with Brockton Housing Court to keep Porkchop locked up until they could find a new home for him.
The city does not deny seizing Porkchop, but says officials considered the pig to be on the loose because he was away from his home.
Now Ruiz is fighting to get Porkchop back so that he, not the city, can place him in a new home.
“Not only did they steal my property, but now they’re telling me what to do with my property,” Ruiz said. “It’s not their business where I bring him. They don’t want him back, fine. I’ll take the troublemaker out of the city.”
At a housing court hearing Wednesday, Judge Wilbur P. Edwards Jr. allowed the city to continue to keep Porkchop at the kennel.
Ruiz was given until Wednesday to produce certified documents indicating where he plans to relocate Porkchop, and whether that community would allow it.
“We don’t want this pig to become a problem in a neighboring community,” Hanrahan said. “We don’t need to pass it off to somebody else. We’re just trying to make it fair.’’
Ruiz accused Brockton officials of overreaching in their attempt to weigh in on which community Porkchop should live. But Hanrahan said officials have to know where Porkchop is going to ensure that Ruiz does not just take him back to his Silver Road home.
“He’s not allowed in Brockton,” she said. “The pig is banned.”
Ruiz said that by refusing to release Porkchop to him, officials are wasting time and taxpayers’ dollars. He wants Porkchop, who enjoys going to the beach and car shows, to be in his new home as soon as possible.
“I have multiple places,” Ruiz said of potential homes for Porkchop, among them a farm owned by a friend. “He’s still my pet. I’m just going to bring him out of Brockton and put him in a better situation.”
Ruiz, 42, said he always wanted a pet pig as a child. It was not until his son, Ayden, asked for one that he bought Porkchop three years ago. Ruiz created a home for him inside a doorless garage in his driveway, and stacks plywood and a metal ladder out front to ensure that the pig does not get out.
But Ruiz, who works as a laborer and a bouncer, acknowledges there have been times when he has failed to make the garage “Porkchop-proof.”
“The containment issue, it’s my negligence as far as being lazy some days and not penning him right, thinking he’s going to be all right,” Ruiz said. “But in three years, [there have been] 15 citations, half of them I paid because they’re only $15, but then I finally figured out they were looking to make a paper trail to pull a stunt.” So he stopped paying the penalties, he said.
But Hanrahan said Ruiz has been permitted to have the pig only since Oct. 4, 2011, not three years ago, and contends that Porkchop is only about a year and a half old.
As a pet owner, Ruiz’s intentions are good, Hanrahan said.
“It’s been brought to our attention so many times, and if we don’t do something and something happens, then it becomes, ‘You should have done something sooner,’ ” she said.
Ruiz, meanwhile, said his 4-year-old son wants to know where Porkchop is. “I told him the city’s got him and Dada is trying to get him back,” he said.