Sanctuary opens for unwanted pigs

  • 01/09/2015

In the US, a rescue home has been opened for pet pigs that have grown far too big for their owners.

Some breeders are being accused of telling porkies to prospective buyers, saying the pigs will stay small, but the pigs are now in hog heaven.

The name of the five-acre sanctuary in southern California says it all - Lil' Orphan Hammies.

"I do love pigs. I know their personality. I know their behaviour," says owner Sue Parkinson.

Ms Parkinson is swamped with pigs, all of them she says abandoned by people who were promised pets barely larger than a tea cup.

When people buy a pig they are told they will weigh between nine and 18kg, but Ms Parkinson says they weigh 54kg to 64kg.

That is because pigs do one thing extraordinarily well: they eat, and when they finish, they eat some more.

Ms Parkinson says to keep pigs less than 23kg you have to starve them, and she sees that all too often - pigs underweight but still oversized.

"A hungry pig is an angry pig. It's like a person on a diet. They are not happy," she says.

That describes Hammond, who grew from a hungry household pig to a 68kg, very happy pig who does anything he wants.

Ms Parkinson says too many pig lovers fall for the photos and then reality sets in.

"My phone rings every single day. They call and email, 'Can you take my pig?' I'm flooded with it. And we all have our limits, and we have to say no."

Still, she hopes for the day that her phone won't ring and the pigs won't come.

"The dream of every rescuer is to no longer be needed."

Watch the video for the CBS News report.