Homeowner Association Beaten by a Pig!

Wilbur the Pig’s family had to spend thousands of dollars defending their pet pig. So did the Harris County, Texas HOA, which did everything it could to have Wilbur thrown to the wolves. Wilbur is a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, an extremely intelligent species which has been bred as housepets. Tens of thousands of pig owners say they make marvelous companions.

But The Thicket at Cypresswood Community Improvement Association thought otherwise. Just the thought that the Alex Sardo family was keeping a non-traditional pet in their home threw the HOA into histrionics. Threats to sue, threats to poison, threats of vandalism, threats to seize the Sardo home and sell it at auction.

Wilbur finally got his day in court, and for once a District Court Judge was not friendly to an HOA. He ruled that the evidence was clear that this breed of pig is definitely considered a household pet. But Judge Mike Engelhart went further. He warned that Homeowners Associations have a responsibility not to infringe too much on homeowners’ use of their land. He said it’s time to set a precedent: that Homeowners Associations cannot micromanage their residents behavior.

There was obvious pissing and moaning on the HOA side of the room. There’s no word on whether the Sardo family will be awarded legal fees. It will be a tragedy if they don’t get back every dime in this stupid dispute. It would also be true justice if a special assessment had to be levied against the whole neighborhood to pay for the wasted legal expenses.

Sadly, this won’t be the end of the story. Beware the “neighborhood nazi.” The Sardo family is going to be made just as miserable as this HOA dares.

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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

2 thoughts on “Homeowner Association Beaten by a Pig!

  1. pwinwilliams4439

    All of us who were “rooting” for Wilbur are relieved, and some of
    us are jubilant. This is another very sad case of an HOA
    run amuck. My husband and I are retired. I spent many years
    as an officer and a director in an HOA comprised of 2500
    homes. We were totally self-managed. In my twenty something
    years of service I saw the best of the best and the worst of
    the worst, but it could have been far worse if we has allowed
    ourselves to be taken over by a “management” company or
    if we had succumbed to a fanatic who has managed to come
    on board to push for their own agenda. HOAs, if properly
    and reasonably managed, can work together to solve
    mutual problems with other neighborhoods in the same
    area, but they can also succumb to the fanatic mentality
    of management associations whose sole motive is
    profit and for whom “stirring the pot” generates revenue…
    for themselves and for attorneys.

    We recently moved to another neighborhood within Harris
    County but outside of Houston in Taylor Lake Village,
    near Seabrook. Taylor Lake Village itself is a very
    well run (mostly staffed by volunteers) entity of
    approximately 4,000 people in different subdivisions.
    Sadly, we chose to purchase a home (where we would
    like to spend the rest of our remaining years) in a
    very small enclave of less than fifty homes that we have
    discovered is a little kingdom-fiefdom for the original
    in-residence developer who obviously, from all of the
    original documents, including the restrictive covenants,
    intended to get up every morning, try on his crown,
    and survey his subjects and all he beholds.

    The deed restrictions are 26 single spaced pages
    describing what his subjects must and must not
    do in order to be allowed to live here. The major
    flat is that he makes it up as he goes along.
    You cannot take the covenants at face value
    because if he discerns that he would rather that
    you do or not do a particular thing (like planting a
    single small tree at the rear of your property) he
    will decide that it is in his power to move against
    you although this transgression is not mentioned
    anywhere in the covenants.

    The rest of this horror story should probably be on
    “Believe it or Not”. We moved in less than ninety
    days ago and are already handling everything through
    an attorney for our own protection. If anyone had
    ever come to me with this story I would have sworn
    they either had an overactive imagination or
    drank too much. We very well may end up in
    court. I hope not, but the reality is that we can
    either take that route or spend the rest of our
    years bowing down and kissing the hem of his
    royal garments.

    Patricia W. Williams
    (Mrs. John M. Williams)
    1223 Bluebonnet Drive
    Seabrook Texas 77586

    1. Ward Lucas Post author

      Believe me, please, when I say it would be cheaper to move than to go to court! You might lose a down payment by moving, but by going to court you’ll be putting a half dozen kids (the lawyer’s) through college. Even worse, those kids might go to law school!


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