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.
Seriously, that is all I ever talk about.
When you get a friend request on Facebook?
Pig poop discussions are HAPPY occasions!
You are probably the landlord for the local pig wallow (with ZERO chance of filling it in anytime soon)
You incorporate pigs in everyday conversations that have NOTHING to do with pigs, at work, grocery stores, PTA meetings, etc.
If this isn't already on your car, you're waiting for it to arrive.
This is a real conversation you have with someone via text.
You have at least one pig themed item in your house. (But the odds are, you have way more than one.)
When your friends celebrate "Snout Sunday" too.
You realize that you are likely late with a meal when your dining room has been "poltergeised". (That is what we call the mysterious movement of chairs at my house)
Muddy hoof prints are normal.
You buy throw rugs a "few" at a time because they all end up looking like this.
You have that one special place you go for answers.... (lol)
This is your idea of a dream vacation....more pig stuff that you want to see!
You totally want to take a ride on this....
You have the natural ability to see a pig in just about everything. (You're not crazy, this does look like a pig!!)
You take off work because your pig is sick.
Your phone has more pictures of pigs than anything else. Yeah, they're not even your pigs....
You do have the pajamas, socks, shirts, flip flops, underwear, shorts and bedsheets that all feature a pig on them.
Yes, your pig does have birthday parties..and yes other pigs are invited and do attend the festivities!
But guess what?!? YOU are definitely NOT alone! There are plenty of crazy pig people out there! Be proud to be a responsible pig parent. That is not something that should be mocked, but instead it should be admired.
Chris Harrison has been a member of the pig community for quite some time and had a tragic situation occur last year, and since people are vacationing and looking for pig sitters, I felt it was important to share Milton's story with y'all.
Chris often shared stories of Milton's adventures. Milton was a great pig, and he was cherished by his family and often lovingly referred to as "big pig". As they journeyed down the path of pig parenthood, their family showed the rest of us how much he meant to them on a daily basis. EVERYTHING revolved around Milton. Milton felt the same way about his family as they did for him. There was a special love between them. Friends of Chris's were given the privilege of getting a glimpse of their family, as if you were part of it, because he posted pictures and stories of Milton all the time and we all came to know and love Milton in our pig group too. There wasn't a doubt in anyone's mind that Milton was a lucky pig that had a family that loved him very much. He was "one of the kids".
They were in the process of moving, Milton was about to be a super lucky pig because they were moving close to the beach and he would have a whole ocean as his playground. They found a "friend" (and I use the term friend loosely) to watch him while they completed their big move. This "friend" also had pigs, so she understood the complicated dynamics of introducing a pig to her pigs and it was decided to keep them separate since this would only be for a day, in order to be "pig-distraction free" so they could get everything moved into their new home. ONE DAY!
Unfortunately, this didn't go as planned. I remember it like it was yesterday, Chris posted a tribute to his BFF Milton on Facebook. I thought to myself, WHAT?!? He later explained what happened.
"Thanks to everyone for your prayers and support. My poor baby Milton had stayed overnight with a lady who was going to watch him while we moved. She had other piggies there along with various other animals. She was supposed to have kept Milton separate from the other pigs because of the territory issue. But, she did not. Two of her piggies attacked Milton. He suffered some injuries that were not able to be fixed. I caution everyone to not make the same mistake I did and absolutely know, without a doubt, someone will treat your piggy the way they should be treated before leaving them with others. My mistake has left me sad beyond belief and I am so overcome with guilt that I don't know how to handle it. These animals are the greatest things on earth. Love them and cherish them."
Milton passed away 02/01/2015 from pure ignorance. Whose fault was it? It certainly wasn't Milton's fault. It definitely wasn't Chris's fault. That leaves the 3rd party who accepted the responsibility to care for Milton and keep him safe. Milton paid for her mistake with his life. That wasn't fair. She made a promise to Chris and his family to watch over him and knew not to allow other pigs out around him, but she failed them and he was attacked. His injuries were so severe that there was no hope of recovery. They didn't just lose a pig, they lost a best friend and a family member. Chris decided that Milton's death would NOT be in vain, so he posted the story everywhere so people could, at the very least, learn from this situation. It wouldn't bring Milton back, but sharing it has prompted people to screen pig sitters better and has likely saved other pigs lives. No one will ever treat your pig like you do, it is like putting a newborn baby in the hands of strangers. Make sure you KNOW this person, you KNOW they're fully informed about pigs, they KNOW how introductions work, you KNOW that they have a safe place for your pig, secure and away from any others. This is NOT to say that no one can be trusted with your pig, this is meant to serve as a reminder to do diligence. Ask the questions you need to ask and make sure it is a good fit. But there are some amazing people and boarding facilities out there.
Milton was taken from this earth way too soon. A senseless death that was completely preventable. I know Milton is looking down on Chris and his family and proud that they were finally able to open their hearts and home to another pig, but no pig will EVER take Milton's place. He will always have a special place in their hearts as well as mine. Rest in paradise sweet baby, keep the others who were also taken too soon, company until it's time for all of us to meet again!
Milton lives on through memories and he will never be forgotten. His family has a special place in their home to honor Milton. Everything you "think" you know about pigs can change at the drop of a hat. Do not ever assume your pig will be ok. Never assume someone else knows better. Always ask questions. Know who you are dealing with. If you don't know someone on a personal level, get to know them before leaving your pig at their home. Accidents happen, but this was carelessness in addition to an accident. That shouldn't have happened. As I see people making posts asking if anyone knows of someone else who can watch their pig while they vacation, I think back to this story and will usually comment to please be selective over who watches their pig and remind them that not everyone will be as attentive as you are. We have a very small section with questions you can ask a potential boarding facility or person who may be up for the challenge. Now that you have read this, you will probably think of even more. That list also includes those who reached out to us and informed us that they'd be willing to piggy sit. We do not know the people who offered their information or services, but you can click here to see that page. Thanks to Chris Harrison and his family for sharing their story with us, their never ending love for Milton is still present and even though this was a tough lesson to learn, it was the love for Milton that taught the greatest lesson of all....One I will never forget and that is no matter where your pig is, that pig will forever remain in your heart and soul.
An entry from a pigs diary
I walk up to the house from my mud pit and see my family crying. I don't understand what's wrong, but I go to my 8 year old sister to see if I can comfort her. The tears she was crying hit my back like bullets. I do not know what I did wrong. I didn't know I wasn't allowed to dig. I wasn't aware that the bag of apples on the floor weren't for me. Nobody told me that I can't take dirty clothes and put them in my area, I just love my family so much that I want them around me all the time and that pile of clothes gives me at least their scent when they can't be at my side.
It's impossible for me to build my life when there's so much chaos. The reason I run away is because I do not like to be put in a crate for 12 hours, that section of your fence is perfect for me to move so I can taste the green grass on the other side and those kids who chased me are the reason why I ran so far. I couldn't find my way back home.
The dogs food tastes better than mine, but I can stop eating it if y'all will stop crying! I promise I will be a better pig. I swear that I will stop eating so much so I can lose weight, I know I'm big and fat, and you thought I would stay much smaller, but I do love those treats you're always throwing outside for me. I only try to bite your hand because I want more of them, but I am so so sorry I did that.
I dump my water because the ground is hot and I'm trying to get some out of my bowl, but the bowl burns my neck as I try to drink it out of the bowl.
I apologize for standing up on my back legs and taking the sandwich you had on your plate, I hope I didn't get you in trouble. I would tell them I made that mess, if I could talk. I did run away when dad was yelling about the peanut butter smeared all over the floor because I was frightened. But, I am pretty sure he knew I made that mess.
I only squeal at night now when nobody is there to talk to me, but I do it because I'm scared, I promise I will be quiet if you stop crying.
I heard mom tell you to get my things together, are we going on a trip?! I am so excited! Where are we going? Why did you pack up ALL my things? We will be back soon, right?
Now I am in a strange place, these people aren't very nice, I saw them give you some paper, I think she called it "fifty dollars". I don't know what that is, but I'm laying here in my crate trying to figure it out. Where did my family go? When will they be back? This woman picked me up, you know how much that worries me, so I started squealing and she almost dropped me! Thankfully she put me back in my crate, I feel safe there. I haven't been hungry lately, so I haven't eaten any of the dog food she has put in my bowl (and you know dog food is my favorite) I feel so sad and I really miss my family....I just want to lay here and wait for y'all to come back and get me. There are some other animals here that are trying to get me, I think. He barks so much and puts his face right up to my crate. I really need to go to the bathroom, but no one has let me outside in days. I guess I will have to potty right here in my crate. I hate this.
Finally this woman opened the door again, she grabbed me by my legs and dragged me out of this crate, I bumped my chin on the bar as she was pulling me out. She picked me up and rubbed my nose in my Pee! Gross! Then she smacked my butt. What's wrong? Why did she hit me? What did I do? Where is my family?!? Now she put me in a tiny room with a slippery floor WITH that mean barking thing. He keeps showing me his teeth. I don't see anything in them, so I don't know why he's showing them to me. I tried to talk to him, but I don't think he understands me. Oh no! He grabbed me by my head and now there is something wet on my head dripping on the floor. I see that mean lady now, but I can't hear what she's saying. I see her lips move, but I don't hear anything coming out. My head hurts so bad. I wish my family was here.
That lady picks me up and puts me in a box, it's not a big box, but I don't feel too good, so I think I will just lay here. Maybe I'll say a prayer, maybe God will bring my family back. We used to have so much fun and I miss them so much.
Dear Pig God,
I promise I will be a good pig if you bring my family back to get me. I won't steal any food or rugs or clothes anymore. I won't even dig up holes in the yard. I will not bite anyone, I will eat only my food and I will not squeal when I'm in my crate. I promise you I can be a good boy.
If they don't come back, I think I will die. I still can't hear anything, when I opened my eyes, I was back in my wet crate. I do not like this place and I wish the people who loved me would come get me. But I don't think they're coming. I think I was a bad pig. I wish they would've taught me what I needed to learn and I wish I had been a better pig. I am really really tired, my head hurts so bad, why would my family leave me at this horrible place? I know I will never see them again, but I wish I was worth more than the first person with fifty dollars.
More pigs than you can imagine are thinking this or saying a prayer to the pig God to take their pain away or bring their family back to save them. If your pig could have these thoughts, maybe you should reevaluate your methods. Your pig is only as good as you train your pig to be. Take the time and teach your pig manners, respect and basic training. Otherwise your pig may be laying in a pool of their own blood with no hopes to ever recover. If you can't keep your pig for any reason, do NOT hand your pig over to just anyone, please make sure a new family understands pigs, make sure they're able to care for your pig and if you can't do any of that, and you can't work with your pig to improve things, then don't get a pig to begin with!
We hope to make this an ongoing "journal" as written like a pig would write it. We welcome others to contribute to this, if you have something you feel strongly about, send it to us, if you can't come up with the right words, let us know the topic and we can try our best to do it for you. No one will ever learn anything if no one makes it clear how their actions affect pigs. This is how we thought may be able to get through to people and show them how every decision they make can affect their pig. Feel free to email us at email@example.com or message our Facebook page with your suggestion/diary entry. (We may need to edit them slightly, but we will not change the overall message you are trying to get across.)
Written from an unfortunate pigs point of view