MEG BOLTON & JESSICA LAMB
| ABC Sunshine Coast
MAROOCHYDORE, QLD - Cooroy woman Daphne Clarkson has been given one more week to find a new home for her emotional support companion pig, Lenny.
Ms Clarkson, who has anxiety and a sensory processing disorder, said she did not know how she would cope without her companion animal.
"Being without him isn't really an option, to be truthful," Ms Clarkson said.
"I've got letters from my doctor stating because I'm such an anxious wreck that he was to be my emotional support animal because I rely on him so much to comfort me.
"Pretty much wherever I travel, he is with me."
Ms Clarkson recently moved into a Cooroy rental home on a 1,631-square-metre property, but unbeknownst to her, taking "her baby" with her would be breaking the rules.
"I've had him since he was nine days old, and he's just about eight months old," she said.
"According to legislation, I can have up to 12 geese on this property. I could apply to have a sheep or a donkey or a goat here, but just because he's a pig.
"There was no other complaint other than the fact that he's a pig — no noise complaint, no smell, just the fact that he's a pig."
Noosa Shire Council director of community services Kerri Contini said keeping pigs in urban areas of the shire was prohibited under local law.
"This is for hygiene, amenity, safety and biosecurity reasons," Ms Contini said.
"Council officers are working with the pig's owner regarding their options."
Ms Clarkson said Lenny, who is blind, was kept in an enclosure so he would not wander away.
"The real estate is fully aware that I have got a pig that is dependent on me and vice versa," she said.
Ms Clarkson said she had not been able to find Lenny an alternate home that suited his needs.
"My pig is looked after better than, if not the same level, than what people look after their children," she said.
"He gets baths, he gets coconut oil, he gets regular veterinary check-ups because I am paranoid about his health."
"When I'm not with him, and I'm at work, he's usually with his babysitter because I don't like the idea of him being by himself.
"He's not just my best friend, he's my baby."
In Noosa's tight rental market, living in Cooroy is their only choice, but for Ms Clarkson, the thought of having to part with her pig is too much to bear.
"I am very grateful we've got a roof over our head because a lot of families don't, but I'm definitely not okay," she said.
"I'm spending until after 10 o'clock at night with Lenny out the back in his pen because I'm not coping, so I'm just sort of staying away from people.
"I just don't know what I'm going to do."