Unwanted potbellied pigs overwhelming shelters and sanctuaries
In a typical year, the Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary might take in six potbellied pigs.
In 2015, it’s tripled that number – and there are still two months to go.
“We’ve never had this many potbellied pigs looking for homes,” said Siobhan Poole of the St. Marys-area sanctuary.
The number of people looking to offload their pigs is so large that Poole has started a waiting list. She says she’s contacted by new sellers on a weekly basis.
She says too many people are buying the animals without realizing exactly what goes into caring for them.
Often, she says, breeders market the pigs as “micro-mini-pigs” or “teacup pigs” and suggest they won’t grow to a large size.
“There’s no such thing as a micro-mini-pig or a teacup pig,” she said.
“A potbellied pig can go anywhere from 120 pounds to 250 pounds.”
Poole estimates the cost of caring for a potbellied pig at about $1,000 per year, including food and grooming.
That figure doesn’t include paying for surgeries to prevent pigs from breeding.
“For some reason people seem to have the money to buy the potbellied pigs, but they don’t have the money to spay or neuter,” she said.
Calls from people looking to get rid of their pigs are also being made to the Stratford-Perth Humane Society.
“Everyone wants them when they’re small and cute, but they’re not willing to take care of them and have that responsibility when they actually are fully grown,” said Karen Smith.
In some cases, Smith said, people purchase pigs without even realizing they may not be allowed in their municipality.
“People need to know the bylaws before they get them,” she said.
Poole’s sanctuary doesn’t charge any adoption fees for anyone looking to take a pig off its hands.