Brainerd City Council: Members contemplate allowing mini pigs in city

What disappears the moment its name is spoken? Silence. And silence might derail any motivations the Brainerd City Council may have to allow miniature pigs in its borders.

Teacup pig. By User:Ashley13579 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons.

What disappears the moment its name is spoken? Silence. And silence might derail any motivations the Brainerd City Council may have to allow miniature pigs in its borders.

The council convened its first hearing Monday, July 16, on a proposal to allow miniature pigs in city limits-as well as amend ordinances to include licenses for small swine, priced at $15 (in line with similar fees for dog licenses). However, the original catalyst for considering allowing tiny porkers in the city was a request by a resident who-at the time of the original request-said they were planning to buy a pig by July 1.

The city has not heard back from this resident, City Planner Mark Ostgarden said, and as such, there may be little reason for the council to go through the process at all.

"What's before you tonight, this is not a city staff proposal or the planning department-this is based on an inquiry by a member of the public and their desire to have a mini pig," he advised the council. "I don't know if this individual still has any desire to have a mini pig. I don't know where that stands. I have not heard a hue and cry from others about their desire to have mini pigs."

Ultimately, the council opted to forge on ahead anyway and voted 6-1 to convene the hearing, with the dissent of council member Kevin Stunek.


"We're already chasing dogs and cats," Stunek said of his opposition to allowing the chubby ungulates on Brainerd residential properties. "Now, we're going to be chasing pigs all over the place."

In a prior presentation of his research on the subject, Ostgarden said these small swine can, in fact, sometimes grow to be over 300 pounds (or roughly the weight of an average NFL offensive tackle) and are still considered in that class of pint-sized porkers. While the average is about 70-150 pounds, that weight is compacted into a plump tube shape about the size of a medium-sized dog, no taller than 20 inches at the shoulder. Scientists have been unable to genetically modify a healthy pig below 60 pounds.

Pigs are a lot like dogs in their behaviors, Ostgarden said-they can be intelligent, loving and well-trained companions. They can also become bored, knock over things and chew on furniture, also much like a dog.

As such, Ostgarden said, it's important to keep in mind that there are certain ages that piglets should be separated from their mothers-otherwise, they may show some behavioral issues later on in life. Either because of this, or because of unrealistic expectations by families, Ostgarden noted in city documents, about 90 percent of pigs are rehomed before their first birthday.

During Monday's meeting, he said it was the recommendation of the planning department that no more than one pig be allowed at this time, nor that the slaughter of small swine be permitted in residential properties.

Currently, Bloomington, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, New Hope, Shoreview, St. Paul and West St. Paul allow miniature pigs within their borders-though their statutes on the matter differ greatly on what is permitted in regards to the number of pigs, where the pigs are, what the pigs do and how big the pigs are allowed to be.

In other business, the council:

Approved an event/street closure application for the Brainerd Dispatch customer appreciation event 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 14 in the rear parking lot of the Brainerd Dispatch building at 506 James St. The application stipulated the adjoining north/south alleyway connecting James Street to the lot be closed during the event.


Approved pre-authorized testing services by Northern Technologies LLC in relation to the site of the salt/sand storage facility. City Engineer Paul Sandy noted the tests-which entail a $2,000 fee-would raise total construction costs to $237,000 or still below the budgeted $240,000. The tests involved the composition of soil, concrete and structural steel.

Approved a change order to the amount of $2,128.44 to KAMCO Inc. for the 2018 crack seal project, bringing total costs for the project to $20,368.18 (which the council also approved as a final payment). The crack seal project addressed about 37,000 feet of cracks in Brainerd roadways, circumstances forced crews to work an extra day to complete the project, prompting the price adjustment.

Set a budget workshop for 6 p.m. Aug. 27 at city hall. Council members and city staff will look to establish the preliminary levy for 2019, as well as formulate a final property tax levy before the end of the year.

Authorized a lease agreement with Brainerd & Crow Wing County Public Transit for space in the basement of city hall. Per request documents, the agreement is based in ensuring all local entities give their fair share of utilities, phone, internet and other services in city hall. Local entities-such as Crow Wing County or the city of Brainerd-pay 15 percent of operating revenue, while the state foots the remaining 85 percent. The lease is $615 per month.

Adopted an ordinance amendment to incorporate crematoriums and mortuaries into conditional use permits for B4 (General Commercial) and B6 (Washington Street Commercial) properties.

Authorized the creation of a job description-in addition to the logistics of the role-for possible community development director position which would replace and share many of the roles currently executed by the city planner. The position change was prompted in large part by Ostgarden's announcement he will be retiring from his position effective Jan. 4, 2019. A community development director would oversee the city's zoning and planning functions, as well as take on a managerial role over the building department which is currently overseen by City Engineer Paul Sandy.

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