MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minneapolis man is a battle with the City to get his pigs back, after he had three pigs taken by animal control. The reason: hoofed animals aren’t allowed in Minneapolis.

The debate of whether or not he should get them back has been going on for months, a battle that started with a trip to the golf course.

Two-year-old Bart is one of Larry Johnson’s pet pigs. The pig’s mother, Carmel, and two piglets are currently in the custody of the Minneapolis Animal Care And Control. Johnson, a military veteran, has been trying to get them back for weeks.

“With me they calm me down, mentally and physically,” Johnson said.

The ordeal started back in June when he was taking the pigs back to his farm in Glencoe and stopped at Hiawatha Golf Course to let them out of his truck for some air.

“The pigs started getting very very hot. They were hot to the point where they probably would have died if I hadn’t let them out,” he said.

He says an animal control officer showed up and took one of the piglets. Two weeks later, a neighbor alerted him the other two pigs were gone.

“Frantically called on the phone and said, ‘They smashed your doors down.’ They were rude to her, would not tell her why they are doing it, and finally said it was a warrant over a pig,” he said.

A spokesperson for the city of Minneapolis told WCCO: “The pigs were in extremely unsafe and inhumane living conditions and very poor health as documented by a veterinarian.”

Johnson lost an initial appeal process to get the pigs back. He now has Bart living with a friend in St. Paul, where hoofed animals are allowed with a permit.

He said he was given one more appeal option, to pay more than $4,000, which would cover the cost of Animal Care and Control watching the pigs during the 90-day appeal process. The deadline closed Monday night. Still, Johnson said he isn’t giving up the fight to get his pigs back.

City officials are looking for a sanctuary for the animals to go to. A petition has been created to try to get rid of the Minneapolis ordinance that does not allow hoofed animals.

Kate Raddatz