Man with two pet mini pigs has to avoid shops, cafes and PICNICS

·4-min read

A man who has two pet mini pigs takes them on walks but has to stick to routes approved by the Government - to avoid shops, cafes and PICNICS.

Josh Townsend, 32, is regularly seen with porkers Billy and Franklyn on a stroll of their local park.

The two mini pigs are mega-smart and have learned tricks normally taught to dogs - including, sit, come and spin.

But when it comes to 'walkies' Josh has to stick to an official route approved by DEFRA - the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - who issued him a 'walking licence'.

Pigs can spread disease so IT manager Josh, of Cheltenham., Glos, can't go near any shops or cafes. 

He also had his original walking route revoked due to the increase - in picnics.

But they are able to use their nearby park where he takes them on the same lead the average dog owner would use.

They enjoy a regular half a mile walk after they leave Josh's new housing estate.

Josh insists his pigs are exceptionally clean - but can still carry diseases. 

He said: "It's all about stopping diseases such as foot and mouth - pigs are carriers of the disease. 

''Cafes, restaurants, livestock, anything that could cause spread of disease - I have to avoid them when walking."

Josh suggested the route - then a government official walked it to make sure it was 'suitable'. 

"It's very frustrating!," he added.

''Particularly as the original route was revoked after several months of use, just because when I added Franklyn - a different woman re-inspected the route and said it wasn't suitable any more due to picnics.

"The pigs are on a lead so surely I can control whether they go near any food waste? 

''I tried appealing it back in January and it was rejected again."

Josh says Billy weighs about 40kgs and is "just under knee height" while Franklyn is 10kgs-15kgs - the ''size of a fat jack Russell".

He said: "It's something different to talk about - you get funny looks when you're out and about.

"The senior citizens love it - I've never had a negative reaction.

"They're really cute and really intelligent animals - more so than dogs they say. 

''But because they're clever they need 24-hour interaction and get bored easily.

"But on flipside you can teach them tricks - they sit, spin, come, all basic commands you'd expect a dog to do."

Josh also has to stick to strict rules around food for the pigs, which are both aged one.

"Their primary diet is Allen & Page pot-bellied pig pellets," he added.

"They have between one to two cups of these morning and evening. 

''They have a variety of fresh fruit and veg for their lunch, including apples (de-cored), carrots, etc.

 

"Often I add coconut oil as this helps with their skin as pigs naturally have dry itchy skin.

"You can't feed them food prepared in a kitchen or produce that's been transported with meat or dairy products.

"There's also other rules. You can't just take them anywhere. It's not like a dog - you can't just put it in a car and take it to a mate's house.

"Pigs have to reside in a holding, the only exemptions are a walking license because the routes been planned and approved."

Single Josh said he bought the first pig a year ago.

He said: "It wasn't planned - we went to a mini pig petting farm in January last year. 

''They had a surprise litter - one of the male pigs had escaped and got into the females pen.

"So, when we went in January they were advertised as being for sale and we bought Billy for just under a grand.

"I got Franklyn in June from a different place - I'm a member of the Mini Pigs UK Facebook group - a lady posted saying she had a mini pig to give away.

''They decided to rehome him after realising they don't have the correct licenses nor setup/knowledge to care for him properly."

Josh isn't planning on welcoming anymore piggies into his home - but has advised anyone else interested to get at least two.

"When I first bought them, they said you should buy them in pairs - but I just bought Billy.

"Trying to give them constant attention is a nightmare - so getting Franklyn was a game changer - they have each other's company."

Josh added that, since pigs living together need a hierarchy - an initial battle took place between Billy and Franklyn to determine the boss.

British bred Billy came out on top in the scuffle, coming in around 30 kilograms heavier than Franklyn, a smaller Scandinavian breed.

"People think they're flabby but they're not - they're as a hard as a rock," Josh said.

"When you introduce pigs - since they're herd animals - there has to be a fight to determine the boss, but it's all natural and they are best friends now."