Found: One very friendly stray pet pigA miniature pig is discovered roaming the streets of Duluth and enjoys lots of attention at the animal shelter (at least for now).
By: Jana Peterson, Budgeteer News
Petunia is the perfect dog — likes children and car rides, is (partly) potty trained and walks well on a leash — except that she’s a pig.
A small pig, but a pig nonetheless.
“I gave her a massage last night and she just keeled over and went to sleep,” said Stefanie Kemp, an Animal Allies assistant who took the stray miniature pig home the first night it was at the city’s animal shelter. “She’d been chasing the kids around and getting into mischief, so she was pretty tired.”
Petunia appears to have been well cared for, but, so far, no one has called to claim the stray swine.
“A man brought her in Monday, he said she was running loose near Highland and Skyline,” said Kelly Higbe, who works for the city’s animal control department.
As the story goes, the pig jumped right into his truck.
The unnamed man must have known the trick: Make kissing noises.
“I took her for a walk today — I just (she puckers up her lips to demonstrate) kissed at her and she followed me,” said Jessie Rahja, another shelter employee.
The pig’s owner has until the end of the day Monday to claim her. If she remains unclaimed, Petunia will probably be available for adoption sometime soon.
Carrie Lane, lead shelter worker for the city of Duluth, said she hopes the owner will come forward, even if he or she doesn’t want to keep Petunia.
“We’re not going to blame someone if a pig wasn’t the right pet for them,” Lane said. “But it would be really helpful if that person could tell us how old she is, her medical history, her age, breed, habits and any other useful information. ... We can find a good home for her.”
Not just any home will do, however. In Duluth, pigs are allowed only in areas that are zoned for agricultural animals, even the miniature, more exotic breeds. Anyone who adopts or buys a miniature pig is also required by the city to license the animal.
No one is sure what exact breed of pig Petunia is, but they are certain she isn’t a breeder pig. Nor is she a Vietnamese potbellied pig; she could of an even smaller breed.
However, small is a relative term. Although Petunia is quite petite now, she’s also probably not even close to full grown. Shelter workers estimate Petunia is probably about 14-weeks old.
According to the Pig Preserve Association Web site, miniature pigs keep growing until they are close to 3 years old. Their average weight is between 90 and 150 pounds at maturity, so they are only miniature compared with a farm pig, which could weigh closer to 600 pounds at maturity. The only way to know the true size is to adopt or buy a mature pig older than 4.
Also, if Petunia is put up for adoption, Lane said she would be treated the same as any dog, which means she would get any needed shots and be spayed before she could leave the shelter, and there would be a fee to adopt her.
In the meantime, Petunia is enjoying the spotlight at the city’s animal shelter. She snorts happily and wags her tail when visitors come in and cuddle her.
“She’s been the most popular thing all week,” said Lane on Thursday.
That’s no surprise. Petunia is a people pig, after all.
Call the city’s animal shelter at 723-3259 about lost pets. To adopt, contact Animal Allies Humane Society at 279-3647. Both are located at 2627 Courtland St., Duluth.
Exotic pets not unusual at the city shelter
The occasional exotic guests make the job more fun, said lead city animal shelter worker Carrie Lane. The city shelter has been home (temporarily) to such diverse pets as horses, goats, iguanas, snakes, birds, alligators and even wolves that had been kept as house pets.
One of Lane’s best stories is about a snake.
Taken by police officers from a drunk man who was carrying the snake in a bucket down Superior Street, shelter workers put the reptile in a garbage can with a lid on it for the first night. When they returned in the morning, the snake was gone.
“Well, that was mid-summer, and we searched all over, but we couldn’t find the snake,” Lane said. “Then, in November, I was doing something in my office and out crawls the snake. So, I called the zoo and they said they would take it if I could bring it to them, but I had to keep it warm.
“‘How do I do that?’ I asked them.
“‘Put it in your shirt,’ they told me. ... Snakes give me the creeps, but I guess it’s all in the line of duty,” added Lane.
Nor is Petunia her first pig experience. Lane once had to leave a trail of dog food bits for a frightened potbellied pig loose near Boy Scout Landing.