BAY COUNTY, MI (WJRT) — A Michigan Court of Appeals decision this week will allow a Bay County pig farm to remain despite neighbors’ complaints over smells.

Fraser Township sued the farmer, wanting the pigs off the property. But the Court of Appeals ruled that the township waited too long to file the lawsuit, so the farm can remain.

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“I just started raising them,” said Harvey Haney, who owns the farm in Fraser Township.

Back in 2006, Haney started raising pigs and hogs on his 17 acres of property north of Linwood. He’s got about 50 right now and some of them are getting pretty big.

“I sell some to St. Louis. There’s an auction house out there. And I move a few to our hunting ranch in Lupton, Michigan,” Haney said.

But about six years ago, someone sort of squealed.

“There were some neighbors that brought it to the township’s attention,” Haney said.

His property, which is just off of M-13, is zoned commercial and not for agricultural use. Fraser Township sued to shut down the piggery because it was a nuisance and neighbors complained about the smell.

“At first I was very upset because about 150 feet over here, you will see a fence line and this individual here can farm over 30 acres and he isn’t taken to court,” Haney said.

Bay County Circuit Court ruled in Haney’s favor, concluding that the Michigan Right to Farm Act trumped the township zoning ordinance.

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Fraser Township appealed and the case went all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court. This week, the Court of Appeals ruled in Haney’s favor again.

Attorney Phil Ellison said the court concluded the township waited too long to attempt to shut the pig farm down.

“Governments, if they are going to enforce their laws, they have to do it in a timely fashion, meaning within six years,” Ellison said.

He said the township knew the piggery was operating for more than six years before it started legal action. Fraser Township officials could not be reached for comment.

Ellison said it could appeal the latest decision.

“The best bet would be, let the farmer be a farmer,” he said.

Haney can now go hog wild.

“I’m going to keep doing what I am doing,” he said.

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