Visitors to the Paulding County Dog Warden over the last few days may have encountered a most unusual temporary resident. Let's just say there have been some "oinks" heard among the barking of dogs.
Although it's the first pig they have ever housed, Paulding County Dog Warden Georgia Dyson did her best to make Bacon Bits, a 14-week-old pot bellied pig, at home during his brief stay. She bought pig feed, which was the majority of his diet, but as a treat, "he really likes french fries," Ms. Dyson said.
The pig came to the pound after a resident called Ms. Dyson to tell her she had been pig-sitting and the owners decided they didn't want to take him back.
"I don't normally take anything other than dogs," Ms. Dyson said. "But her pastor told her to call us, and I felt bad for her." The pet sitter is a senior citizen and didn't seem able to properly care for the pig, she said.
Ms. Dyson didn't want to put the pig in one of the dog runs because she was concerned that since pigs rut (dig with their noses), he might pick up a dormant germ left behind by a former canine. So she put two dog crates together in a side room for his temporary home.
He was only at the pound for three days while volunteer Lynne Mansfield posted messages on various rescue group email lists trying to find a group to take him.
Lisa Bartel, co-founder of Heritage Farms Animal Rescue in Liberty Center, picked up the 20-pound pig, who for now is about the same size as a beagle, Wednesday afternoon. Her group is experienced with farm animals, having taken in and adopted out not only pigs, but sheep, goats, horses, and llamas.
After he's been checked out by the vet and neutered, he'll go up for adoption, she said. But city dwellers need not apply. Ms. Bartell, who has taken in 30-some pigs in her years as a rescuer, said she wants the adopter to own a farm. "He needs to be able to live outside," she said. "Pigs need to be pigs. They aren't meant to live inside."
Full-grown pot bellied pigs easily can tip the scales at 125 pounds -- more if they are overfed, she said. Clueless owners who try to keep them as house pets end up with their woodwork being eaten, she added.
Ms. Bartel wishes people would better educate themselves before adopting any kind of animal, but especially pigs, who can suffer without proper dental and hoof care.
"People don't realize, this is still a barnyard animal," she said. "It's not like your typical dog or cat that's readily going to adapt to your house."