11/18/2014 01:07 EST | Updated 11/18/2014 01:59 EST

Eli The Pot-Bellied Pig Is Not A Pet In Sherwood Park, Says Court

Michelle Kropp/Facebook

Lesson learned: you can't keep a pot-bellied pig as a pet in this Alberta city.

Michelle Kropp of Sherwood Park was ordered Monday to give up her family's pet pig, after court found Kropp guilty of harbouring livestock within city limits.

Kropp was also told to pay a $100 fine.

The fight to keep the pig, Eli, began earlier this year when Kropp received a ticket for contravening a Strathcona County's Animal Control Bylaw.

However, reports Global News, Kropp pled not guilty to the bylaw ticket in August, arguing her pig is both a trained therapy animal as well as a part of the family.

To bolster the argument, Kropp and family began an online petition to save Eli. The petition explained that Eli was orphaned as a piglet and raised by humans, making him ill-equipped to ever live on a farm. It argued that Eli made visits to sick kids and acted as a companion animal.

More than 15,000 people signed the petition.

Kropp told the Edmonton Journal she also gained permission from a Strathcona County bylaw official to keep a pig as a pet before purchasing her home, as well as letters verifying Eli's breed isn't necessarily categorized as livestock.

Tom Langeste, who presided over the trial, disagreed. He expressed sympathy for the family, reports Sherwood Park News, but said municipal bylaws come ahead of emotions.

In response to the ruling, Strathcona County issued a statement:

“In light of today’s decision, Strathcona County continues to be hopeful the pot-belly pig’s owner will choose to voluntarily relocate the pig to meet the bylaw requirements.

“If the pig is not voluntarily relocated, Strathcona County will proceed with its application to the Court of Queen’s Bench for an Order requiring the pig to be relocated. The Court of Queen’s Bench hearing is expected to occur in early 2015.”

If Eli is not relocated, he could be removed from the Kropp home as early as February.

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