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Minnesota Woman Wants Sitter Charged with Abuse of Pet Pig

posted on November 2, 2007


WINONA, Minn (AP) - A Winona woman is asking that abuse charges be filed against an acquaintance who was pet-sitting for her potbellied pig and allowed the animal to get fat.

Michelle Schmitz said her pig, Alaina Templeton, weighed 50 pounds when Schmitz left her with a co-worker who offered to care for the animal in February when Schmitz went on medical leave to recover from ankle surgeries.

Nine months later, the pig weighed 150 pounds and it took veterinarians 4 1/2 hours to surgically remove the animal's collar. Officers were investigating whether Alaina was abused by the sitter's neglect and overfeeding.

Investigator Jeff Mueller of the Winona County Sheriff's Department said Tuesday that no charges had been filed.

Schmitz, 22, said she bottle-fed Alaina when she was just 11 days old and kept her on a strict diet to keep her weight at about 50 pounds.

When she tried to recover the pig in April, Schmitz said the co-worker wouldn't return her calls. She said she didn't know where the woman lived and when she finally found the woman's farm Saturday she discovered that Alaina's neck had grown around her collar and the pig had trouble breathing.

The pig now wears bandages and is healing from a pressure wound and infection on her neck.

Schmitz said she cried for three days after she discovered her pet's weight problem.

"That pig is my life," said Schmitz, who has a tattoo of Alaina's name.


Tags: animals Minnesota news pets pigs