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  • Video: Rufus, the Potbellied Pig

    This is a story of changing times when city meets country. The end of World War II ushered in a new way of life. People moved from the country to the city bringing their country ways. Bill Suits, owner of A ta Z Salvage in Decatur, experienced the culture clash firsthand. Rufus, a 7 month-old, 50 pound, potbellied pig comes to work everyday with Suits and has become quite an attraction. Customers stop in to feed him treats and watch him walk around the store. When someone complained that keeping a pig in the city was against the law, Suits fought back. He argued that the law was outdated and Rufus was a pet. Decatur Mayor Elizabeth Wilson worried that if the city council changed the law, the floodgate would be opened and everyone would want to keep livestock within city limits. Sue Ellen Mears, with the DeKalb Historical Society, comments on the change from rural to urban in Atlanta. For example, the area around Perimeter Mall was once part of Spruill Farm. Only the farmhouse, now on the corner of a busy intersection, remains today. She thinks the law barring livestock should be kept because city people want to be protected from the sounds and smells of farm animals. Mayor Wilson pays a visit to the salvage store and meets Rufus. He is not what she expected. The story has a happy ending. The city council changed the law to classify potbellied pigs as pets, and Rufus still comes to work every day.

    Teacher tip: Bill Suits says he fought city hall and won. Ask students to explain what that phrase means and to recall how Suits conducted his fight.

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