Question on pot belly pig’s residency heads to District Court

By Eileen Godin - | June 2nd, 2016 2:57 pm

By Eileen Godin

KINGSTON TWP. — The curly tale regarding Gemma’s township residency may be straightened out July 6 when the case is heard by District Magistrate James E. Tupper.

The double hearing regarding the emotional support animal named Gemma, a 75-pound pot-bellied Vietnamese pig, is scheduled for 11 a.m. that day at District Court 11-3-09, 11 Carverton Road in Trucksville.

“The township filed to enforce an ordinance not to allow pigs,” said attorney Lawrence Kansky, who represents Gemma’s family. “We filed a civil complaint.”

Gemma’s family, which includes Charles and Karen Laskowski, and their daughter, Heather Brennan, bought a home on Mount Olivet Road in December 2015.

In an earlier interview with the Times Leader, Karen said she checked with the municipality regarding zoning ordinances and Gemma in November 2015. At that time, she was told the family could have Gemma, and the sale of the home was completed.

But four months later, township zoning officer Bill Eck cited the family under a 31-year-old zoning ordinance that prohibits “pigs, swines and hogs” in a residentially zoned area.

The family fought back to keep its registered emotional support animal, paid a $500 appeal fee, acquired legal counsel from attorney Lawrence Kansky and appeared at a zoning board hearing April 14.

To the family’s dismay, attorney Donald Brobst, representing the Kingston Township Zoning Board, dismissed the case, citing, “the zoning board lacks jurisdiction and authority to hear this appeal.”

“This is an appeal from a code enforcement notice for a violation of Chapter 2, Section 202 of the animal nuisance ordinance, not a violation of a zoning ordinance. The Zoning Hearing Board does not have the authority to hear appeals under the animal nuisance ordinance” Brobst said at the hearing.

Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.