La Villa Upholds City Ordinance Prohibiting Swine Breeding
LA VILLA – A lifelong Hidalgo County resident said his issue with hogs living next door is going unheard.
In 2011, the city of La Villa made it unlawful for people within city limits to keep, harbor or maintain livestock, fowl, swine or exotic animals.
Ronnie Ramirez said he wants the animals gone.
“It’s a public nuisance. It’s smelling, flies, all this. I mean, what do I have to do? I already contacted local officials, city managers, mayors; they don’t want to do nothing about this," Ramirez said.
The change made exceptions for livestock associated with Future Farmers of America, 4-H and similar programs in which students usually raise farm animals during the school year.
But swine animals, meaning pigs and hogs, never made the list of exceptions.
Ramirez said he wants more from city officials.
“Supposedly these are FFA animals, raised animals. FFA starts in October and ends in March. What’s the excuse? Why are these animals still there?” he questioned.
Even if swine animals were eligible for exception, their presence would constitute a public nuisance, according to the ordinance. It states exempt animals must be kept, “in such a manner as to prevent or eliminate any infectious type of disease or the emanating of offensive odors.”
“I can’t even go outside. It smells like pig," Ramirez said.
He said he spread lime powder to kill the pests he believes come from the pigs.
“Flies, I’m getting ticks, I’m getting fleas,” he said
CHANNEL 5 NEWS made three separate attempts to speak to the owner of the hogs for comment. No one answered the door.
The La Villa city commission said they will discuss the farm animal issue Wednesday evening. But La Villa city manager Arnie Amaro said the ordinance needs more specificity.
"It's one of those that’s kind of grey. So, that’s one of the main reasons why we’re bringing it to the actual meeting, so that we can get some clarification from the actual board members," he said.
La Villa Police Chief Victor Garcia said Ramirez got an appropriate response.
“Since we did have the complaint, that’s when we started enforcing this old resolution. And we have given a citation to the landowner, the property owner, where the swine is located and we’re still awaiting the court date,” he said.
Garcia said the department has issued a total of four citations for swine in the city limits.
The ordinance states a violation is a Class C misdemeanor.
The police chief said even though law enforcement took a relaxed approach in the past because of FFA, no more concessions will be made.
"Whatever the judge states and says, we’ll go by that. If I have to get with Animal Control or have somebody come and repossess the pigs, we will be doing that. More than likely it will be the county or the Cowboy Unit," Garcia said.
In Wednesday's meeting, La Villa officials motioned to uphold the 2011 ordinance and said it's still illegal to breed, harbor, keep or maintain pigs or hogs in city limits.
The La Villa Police Department said they will now determine an appropriate amount of time for hog owners to remove their animals from withing city limits.
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