Pig statue sits at center of controversy in Hatch

A 15-foot tall pig statue used as an advertisement for a local cafe in Hatch is in the middle of a swine showdown in the southern New Mexico village.

After some debate over the statue’s legality, the giant hog cleared one hurdle, but has gone to a higher level.

While Hatch is world famous for its red and green chile, the new star is a fiberglass pig parked near State Highway 26.

The pig is one of a variety of “Americana items” surrounding Sparky’s Burgers, BBQ, and Espresso in Hatch.

Owner Teako Nunn said Friday, “Everybody’s for it. The tourists love it, we love it and it just makes an Hatch an interesting town to come visit.”

Even after village officials OK’d the pig as a billboard last week, Nunn faces another fight.

The pig caused its share of controversy, but a giant hot dog on the other side of town is being targeted by the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

Nunn and his wife Josie received letters from the DOT this week, saying the hot dog is illegal because it has no permit.

The pig is also breaking the law, because it sits on a trailer.

Both fall under state jurisdiction because they’re visible from a state highway.

The Nunns have been ordered to remove them within 30 days, or else.

Department of Transportation Spokesman Mark Slimp said, “It could go as far as us removing the sign at their expense.”

DOT officials say the issue could have been brought to their attention by a citizen or local government, but could not provide specifics.

The Nunns, meanwhile, just want a break for something they say has support from most of the community.

The Nunns say they’re willing to apply for any necessary permits and do whatever it takes to keep the pig and the hot dog where they are.