Press Release from Ranger's Refuge at Gallastar regarding the pig killed by SPCA staff and her boyfriend
A recent news story was brought to our attention and naturally outraged many in the pig community. A pig was found wandering in a neighborhood and a group helped the local animal control catch this pig. The unnamed pig (he has since been named Profit by those who care in the pig community) was taken to the local SPCA in Albemarle County Virginia where he was stolen, tortured and killed by one of their staff members and her boyfriend. There are no excuses that can take that back. There is nothing that can be said to bring that unfortunate pig back to life, but what this can do is remind us how unsafe pigs are at shelters. We don't have to agree with the reasons people are looking to rehome their pig. More times than not, we are not happy with the "reason" because had appropriate screening been done or research, there may be one less homeless pig. So, with that being said, these two thieves stole a PET PIG and killed him for a holiday BBQ. The lack of respect for life stands alone, but the lack of respect for someone else'e pet? It is ok to receive an animal and take it home and kill it? What kind of sociopaths are working at these animal shelters? How often does this actually happen? These people got caught. They're not remorseful, they're upset that they were caught and she was fired. How many pigs have suffered this same fate and it didn't make the news? Probably more than any of us want to know about. Lorelei Pulliam wrote a press release about the situation and we have added our commentary as well as a picture to demonstrate how unsafe pigs are at shelters. If someone is looking for a home for their pig, please don't shame them. Don't comment or share their post. Obviously taking pigs to shelters isn't safe, so help find appropriate homes for these precious pigs. Rescues are full, private homes have already taken on more pigs, NOBODY has room! Keep your promises to your pig like you keep your promise to your children. These pigs are our children, so when you act like you don't care about them and their life is meaningless to you, expect outrage from the rest of us. Trust me, that is exactly what you will get.
The original news story http://www.newsplex.com/content/news/two-people-arrested-for-allegedly-killing-pig, and here is a follow up story with the accused responses to the charges. (Yeah, reading their logic may may you sick to your stomach) How do morally bankrupt individuals justify their actions? ~http://www.newsplex.com/content/news/People-accused-of-stealing-pig-speak-out-
"Aymarie Sutter and Lee Oakes, Jr. are charged with theft, animal cruelty and killing livestock, but they claim they didn't do anything wrong." (quote from their response story)
Although heavily edited, a pig rescue in Virginia did have an opportunity to speak to the news about this situation. http://www.newsplex.com/content/news/local-sanctuary-speaks-out-about-the-torture-and-killing-of-a-pig-at-CASPCA.
Be the voice for these animals that cannot speak for themselves! This is NOT ok.
Members of the Virginia Alliance of Mini Pig Rescuers in the Charlottesville Albemarle area remain committed to assisting localities in the growing problem of miniature pigs. For the past 15 years, these local rescues have been able to assist with the rescue and placement of pet pigs that were stray or unwanted by their owners. Hundreds of pigs have been rescued, spayed/neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and carefully placed in appropriate homes after careful screening and a guarantee that they could be returned to the rescuer if the new owner was not able to care for them. One of our members has been asked to present to different groups on the capture and transport of miniature pigs. We have responded to calls from animal control to assist in seizures involving miniature pigs in King George, Prince William, and Halifax Counties. We have also taken pigs out of many animal control shelters throughout the Commonwealth on every occasion requested. Interestingly, none of us have ever been contacted by the Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA or Albemarle County Animal Control. Nelson County Animal Control did for the first time asked for help with several pig situations this past month but has yet to follow up on any of the cases discussed.
Although it was once possible for the local rescues to keep up with the influx of miniature pigs needing help, the need has now far exceeded the resources available. Sanctuaries throughout the US and Virginia are full. Pigs turned loose are going feral and breeding at alarming rates and disastrous consequences. A quick Google search will reveal the extent of the problem right here in Virginia. Pigs being dumped by owners is one of the leading causes.
The sales of “teacup” pigs and other misleading marketing techniques have created a huge number of pigs in need of homes. It is rare to go to the local Craigslist and not find mini pigs being sold for large sums as piglets or given away as adults. As rescuers we know that there is no market for adult mini pigs. They simply do not make the good pets they are advertised to be. Although these animals can make wonderful companions for a few folks, they are NOT good pets for the majority of people. They are farm animals that require lots of outdoor time and as herd animals, need the company of other pigs to be happy.
Advertised as “house pets” and described as sweet tempered, intelligent and not exceeding 20 to 50 pounds, they sound ideal to those who have not actually gone to a sanctuary and met these grown pigs that average over 100 lbs when mature at age five. These animals breed at 52 days for males and 3 months for females. They easily have two litters a year and make easy bucks for those with even a little spare space to keep them. The truth is that many do not stay sweet tempered in confined areas. They need lots of area to be happy. If confined in a house, they can literally destroy it. Pigs need to root and stay active. If not provided with that opportunity, they will uproot carpet, eat drywall, tear up floors and destroy furniture. Their rooting behavior also destroys the family lawn.
Because of inherent difficulties in restraining and treating mini pigs, few vets will even see them. Many pet pigs die or suffer from very treatable problems. The cost of the absolutely necessary spaying and neutering is very expensive and there are no spay/neuter clinics for pigs! Many pigs develop severe behavioral issues because they are forced to live in unnatural environments and can become very aggressive. Many owners are not aware that dogs and pigs do not mix well and tragedy ensues.
It is no wonder that so many pigs end up needing homes. Small animal rescues typically won’t take them because they consider them livestock and farm animal sanctuaries won’t take them because they consider them pets and not food animals. Many are just passed along from one bad situation to another. It is not unusual for sanctuaries to get pigs that have been through five or more homes. Some of these unwanted pigs are referred to the local rescues who are now forced to reserve a precious few spaces for life and death cases. We help network these would be owner surrender pigs but many people simply give them away. These poor creatures are often used for dog baiting, target practice, or taken to livestock auctions for slaughter as pet food. Some are left to live a life of lonely neglect forgotten in a tiny pen. Many are blind and deaf from being overweight and cannot walk due to overgrown hooves because no one can be found to trim them. Some have tusks grown into their faces. It is a horrible fate for a very sensitive and social creature whose intelligence is now known to be close to dolphins and the great apes. The reality is that they are far more intelligent than dogs, cats or horses.
It is a tragedy that so many pet pigs are simply discarded into the woods where they are often shot on sight or killed by predators. Some wander hungry, thirsty and frightened into a yard looking for help. This was the case of the pig found off of Profit road that has been the subject of so much attention. Sadly, there had been rescuers looking for him and in contact with us the night before. Dina Brigish alerted the authorities in Albemarle County that she stood ready to take in any pigs needing help. Yet, no attempt to reach rescuers was made for this pig.
It is absolutely certain that the pig killed in the CASPCA was a miniature pig that had been raised as a pet. A mini pig who is not well socialized would have been impossible to catch and corral in a neighborhood. The people charged with killing him would never have been able to do any of the things described in their own interview. He was not a farm or feral pig and his trust in humans was most certainly betrayed.
As we have previously stated in an unanswered letter to the CASPCA, we very much want to meet and work with everyone involved to create a safety net for the growing number of homeless pigs in our area. We have worked with sanctuaries around the country and are familiar with what has proven to work in these situations. There are several proposals we would like to discuss at the earliest possible convenience of the parties involved. All of us are very concerned about what will happen to the next pig that needs help in our area. We also wonder what has happened to all of those who must have come through in previous years.
It is with great pride that we live in an area where so many people care about and support animals. We are very proud that our community has a such a fabulous No Kill facility. The CASPCA is an organization and facility that we have always supported. Let us turn this tragic event into an opportunity to improve on a situation that needed to be brought to the forefront. We have to work together to do better for the homeless pigs in our community and assure that all animals receive the protection that they deserve. If the localities are going to allow pigs to be kept in our community as companion animals, it seems a moral obligation to provide the services and compassion that other companion animals are provided. It is our strong belief that if the animal loving community is aware of the situation, they too will support this effort to create a safe place for these animals to stay until reunited with owners or new homes found.
~Lorelei Pulliam, Ranger's Refuge Pig Rescue, Va.
Our names are Brittany Sawyer and Nicole Cox and we are pig parents, pig advocates and also the authors of the "Dear Pig Whisperer" blog. Follow our blog that will feature topics to help you become the best pig parent you can be...along with some other fun things. We will also feature guest bloggers from time to time who want to share their life experience or knowledge with anyone who is interested in learning.