Patricia Brown has kept her pet pig Gwendolyn in her backyard for 20 years. She bought Gwendolyn for her children, who are now grown adults, at a time she says it was the craze to buy potbelly pigs as pets.
She was told Gwendolyn would get no bigger than 50 pounds. It has weighed as much as 300.
A nationally known authority on criminal profiling, Brown now finds herself on the wrong side of a zoning violation in Prince George's County, Md., for keeping or raising livestock or any animal that is not customarily a household pet in a single family residence.
"I hope they give [Gwendolyn] a Christmas reprieve," Brown said.
Brown tried to place Gwendolyn at PIGS Animal Sanctuary in West Virginia, which wrote a letter saying pigs don't generally live to 20 and moving Gwendolyn could put her into a deep depression and cause her to die of a broken heart.
To rally support Brown created a Facebook page for Gwendolyn. The pig has 600 friends and counting, according to her owner.
Brown's house in Berwyn Heights is one of the oldest in the county, dating to 1770. The neighborhood is otherwise typically suburban.
Neighbor Terry Troutman said having a pig in the backyard next door is no problem as long as the pig is well taken care of, and it is, she added.
Brown believes a disgruntled former tenant turned her in to the authorities.
The case is before the Board of Appeals. After that, it could go to court where a judge would have to decide the fate of the potbelly pig. That could take months, as slowly as the wheels of justice grind.
In the meantime, Gwendolyn gets to stay at home at least a little while longer.