He's here! He oinks! Get used to it!
Wilbur is a handsome fella, loyal to owner Nadine Darsanlal and a hit with many in his Queens neighborhood in New York City. And though we doubt he knows it, he's also become something of a poster pig for equal animal rights around the city, CBS 2 reports.
Wilbur is a certified therapy pig, licensed by the city to provide emotional support to Darsanlal, a disabled Navy veteran who contracted bacterial meningitis while serving overseas.
While Darsanlal is a big fan of Wilbur and vice versa ("I wake up with him doing piggy kisses on my cheek," Darsanlal tells CBS 2), it's a different story with the city's health department. It recently issued Darsanlal a citation and a $500 fine for keeping a prohibited animal — despite Wilbur's reported status as a service animal.
CBS 2 reports that a judge reviewed Wilbur's badge (let that statement sink in for a moment) and found that while the pig is indeed a certified emotional support animal, the fine must be paid.
Democratic state Sen. Tony Avella said he's on Team Wilbur. “It’s a cleaner animal. It’s more well-trained. Why not have it?” he told CBS 2.
Coincidentally, Wilbur the New Yorker isn't the only pig to find himself in legal trouble in recent weeks. In fact, he's not even the only pig named Wilbur fighting for the right to live outside a farm.
In Palm Beach, Florida, a completely different Wilbur is getting heat from a homeowners association none-too-happy with the pig's presence, WPTV reports.
Wilbur No. 2's owner, Rori Halpern, told WPTV that the pig helps with her two kids, both of whom have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. One has reportedly been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome.
"He helps them. He really does," Halbern told WPTV. "He helps them come out of their shell."
Follow Mike Krumboltz on Twitter (@mikekrumboltz).