Article Courtesy of The
By David Whitley
Published September 8, 2018
Michelle Moll admits she’s not a typical Orlando homeowner.
“Look at me,” she said. “I’m different.”
She was wearing green, purple and pink tights and high-top sneakers. She had a
nose ring, tattoos, dreadlocks and a disarming openness.
“I’m bipolar,” Moll said. “I’m manic and
then I’m depressed. I’ve been struggling with it. I was in
and out of hospitals until I got her.”
Her is a pig named Maybeline. Not everybody in the
Winderlakes subdivision in Southwest Orlando is as charmed
by Maybeline as Moll.
She was a birthday present last March from Moll’s husband,
Ian. Maybeline weighed three pounds and had long eyelashes
that looked as if she’d painted them with mascara. Moll
named her gift Maybeline, after the beauty makeup.
Maybeline still has the eyelashes, but she’s put on about
100 pounds. She also has a bounty of sorts on her head.
The homeowners association wants Moll to get rid of
Maybeline. It claims she is “livestock,” and the regulations don’t allow for
“She’s not livestock,” Moll insists.
Before we go further, let me paraphrase Humphrey Bogart in “Casablanca.” The
HOA problems of one pig don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.
But when it comes to HOAs, millions of homeowners can relate to Moll, if not
I don’t want to come off as an HOA hater. They can be indispensable if you
want to keep your neighborhood tidy. But they can also get a bit anal and
In this case, the dispute may eventually be argued out by lawyers. I have an
Feed the page of rules to Maybeline for lunch and move on to more pressing
I must admit my bias here. My all-time favorite actor is the pig who played
Arnold Ziffel in “Green Acres.”
And the species has long been unfairly stereotyped and maligned.
Don’t be pigheaded…. Your room looks like a pig sty…. You fat pig…. Swine
Pigs have good personalities. They are Einsteins compared to most house
pets. And they are actually pretty neat.
Well, Maybeline’s backyard bedroom did sort of resemble a pig sty. She long
ago ripped up a big cushiony mat and spread the feathers to her liking.
But nobody seems to mind; certainly not Moll, her husband, her four kids,
her cat, her Australian shepherd or her five Chihuahuas.
Their house blends right in with all the others on the quiet street.
Maybeline has gotten out a few times, but she just harmlessly wandered
She makes far less noise than most HOA-approved dogs, and she’s cuter than
most of them.
“She’s a pig,” Moll said. “It goes with our family lifestyle, I guess.”
Ian and Melanie run Cucumber Orlando, a one-stop shop for health food
catering, diet management, supplements and education.
Melanie used to be a pharmacist, but she said the industry started caring
more about quotas and profit than customers. She couldn’t handle the stress,
and that’s why Maybeline is more than just a pet.
“I don’t know, she just helps me,” Moll said. “If I’m stressing out, I just
come out here with the pig. She’s so serene. It’s just different. I don’t
know how to explain it.”
It’s a legitimate medical condition that has given rise to Emotional Support
Animals. They’ve gotten a bad rap thanks to people wanting to bring ESA
peacocks onto planes. All Moll wants is to keep one in her backyard.
Somebody in the neighborhood would rather her not. They filed an anonymous
complaint to Orange County Animal Services last year.
Moll got documentation from her doctor and her therapist and registered
Maybeline as an Emotional Support Animal. Moll figured that was that, then
she got a letter dated July 25 from the HOA.
“No livestock, horses, poultry or animals of any kind shall be raised, bred
or kept on any Lot except that dogs, cats and other household pets….”
The HOA hasn’t commented on the situation, but it seems pretty clear that
Maybeline would fit into the “livestock” category much easier than “dogs,
cats or other household pets.”
But under the Fair Housing Act, emotional support animals like Maybeline are
allowed under certain restrictions. Plenty of people have advised Moll to
fight the eviction, but she’s not sure she’s up to it.
“I don’t want to get a lawyer,” she said. “She’s an ESA for a reason. I
don’t need any more stress than I already have. I’ll end up in the hospital
again. I can’t deal with it.”
For now, she’s just going to wait on the next 30-day notice letter from the
HOA. Moll said there will be a third one 30 days after that.
Then things could get serious.
“I can’t imagine what would happen if I had to get rid of her,” Moll said.
“They’ll have to drag her out of here.”
If it comes to that, it’ll be obvious which side is really being pigheaded
in this story.