Family makes headway in preparing home for pet pig

Payette resident Michael Bullard, top-left, testifies before the city of Payette Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday, asking for approval to build a fence along his property. This is one of a series of efforts Bullard and his fiancé, Jessica Deck, are making to help their case in legalizing their pet pig, Bella, in the city of Payette.

PAYETTE — As Payette residents Jessica Deck and Michael Bullard continue their efforts to get their pet potbellied pig, Bella, legalized in the city of Payette, city officials are starting to show signs of working with the couple.

At the Oct. 22 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, the commission voted to allow the couple to put a fence along their property. The couple’s plans include a 12-foot gate, multiple easements and the fence would stay back 5 feet from the curb in front of the property.

“The project itself on .73 of an acre of fenced property; with Bella being almost 50 pounds, that’s more then enough property for her to play with the kids and graze,” wrote Deck in an Oct. 26 email. “We want to make sure with going through the fence process it shows we are more then equipped for her to be with us and more then willing to do whatever it takes to show we will go to the farthest extent for her.”  

Jan Zatloukal, a member of the city Airport Commission, testified against the fencing project during this meeting, saying the fence would disrupt the feel of the neighborhood, disrupt sight lines and create a potential blindspot for kids recreating in the neighborhood.

“Also he stated in this neighborhood nobody has a wrap around fence, which is very true, and was afraid with it being one of the nicest neighborhoods in Payette that would be concerning,” Deck noted. “I believe we are trying to bring a positive change to Payette! We are younger  people who have three kids and want our kids to know you have to work very hard to have nice things.”

After being put under veterinary care on Oct. 20, Deck reports that Bella was released the next day but continues to struggle with being separated from her family.

“Shes definitely [in] good hands but she doesn’t know any better and misses us all! She isn’t used to being out in the cold this time of the year. It breaks my heart! I just hope we can get her back home next month, she won’t make it through winter.”

The commission approved a 6-foot fence for the back of the property, with 3-foot fencing along the remainder of the property.

“That will benefit Bella being able to play out in the yard [with] the kids. We are extremely excited,” added Deck.

Bullard, Deck’s fiancé, told the commission he also plans to install a shed on the property, as it would support his business, Bullard’s Double Coatings, a painting company.

The couple received a conditional use permit for the project, according to city officials.

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