DELAWARE — More than 40 Delaware potbellied pig owners have applied for an Invasive Animal Permit since the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) notified residents last week of the new regulation, 3 DE Admin. Code 906 Possession, Sale, or Exhibition of Non-Native and Invasive Animal Species, listing potbellied pigs and feral swine of any kind as invasive. One of the biggest concerns for these owners is the visible identification ear tag their animals must have to comply with the regulation.
“We know for many owners these pigs are their pets, many living in their homes like a dog or cat would, so the thought of an ear tag used for pigs on a farm is hard to handle,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Karen Lopez. “Based upon the feedback, we are providing the option for owners to have their pigs microchipped by their licensed veterinarian. However, if they are not microchipped yet, owners must call their veterinarian immediately to get on the schedule.”
Despite regulations stating that the animal must have visible identification, owners will not be in violation if they choose to microchip their animal. Owners must schedule an appointment with a licensed veterinarian to have the pig microchipped before their on-site premise inspection. The licensed veterinarian must provide the owner with a copy of the universal microchip number and proof they microchipped the animal to submit to DDA Poultry and Animal Health staff at the on-site inspection.
At the time of inspection, the invasive species owner will be made aware and sign a liability waiver to affirm that there is an understanding of the fact that invasive species that are microchipped are at greater risk of being euthanized if they do not report the escape of their animal within 12 hours of it leaving their premises. Owners who have reported their invasive animal at-large will have 72 hours to assist DDA in recapturing their animal.
“There are people out there who are accusing us of wanting just to kill these pigs, which is not the goal of this regulation. We now have a feral swine population of about 300 pigs, which stemmed from the abandonment and escape of potbellied pigs and potbellied-cross pigs,” said Lopez. “By having a permit process for these invasive animals, we want owners to take the initiative to ensure their pigs have the proper housing and secure fencing so they can’t escape, that they spay and neuter their animals so we can stop unwanted litters and behavioral problems and that if they escape, the owner reports it to us so we can work with them to recapture their animals.”
An Invasive Animal Permit is required for potbellied pigs, or any pig breed advertised as micro pigs, teacup pigs, mini pigs, pocket pigs, or pygmy pigs, or a potbelly cross including pigs with genetics from American Guinea Hogs, Julianas, KuneKune, and Meishan.
For more information regarding this new regulation and to obtain an application for an Invasive Animal Permit, visit https://de.gov/invasiveanimals.