Court: Township can sue couple raising hogs in non-farm area

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Posted at 3:34 PM, Feb 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-12 15:34:14-05

FRASER TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A township near Bay City can pursue zoning violations against a man who is raising hogs in a non-farm area, the Michigan Supreme Court said.

The unanimous opinion Tuesday was a victory for Fraser Township, which had lost a decision at the Court of Appeals, and will help guide Michigan’s local governments in nuisance disputes.

The Supreme Court said the township’s lawsuit in Bay County wasn’t barred by a time limit, even if officials waited years to formally try to get Harvey and Ruth Haney to remove hogs.

The Haneys started with one hog in 2006, according to a summary of the case, but the township didn’t file a lawsuit until 2016 when there were approximately 20. The property isn’t zoned for agriculture.

The township said the property was saturated with animal waste, “creating a horrible stench and attraction for flies.”

The Haneys raise hogs that are known for their unique hooves, which look like the hooves of a mule.

The Haneys’ position at the Supreme Court was tied to the question of time, not the condition of the property.