A bound, beheaded pot-bellied pig was recently discovered at the edge of Pennypack Park, and now law enforcement is hunting down whoever was responsible.
Nicole Wilson, the PSPCA's director of Humane Law Enforcement, said they do not know why this pig was subjected to a painful death,
"We know that the pig was bound, we know that the pig was decapitated, what might be the motivating factor behind someone doing that, we really don't know," Wilson told Metro.
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The body of the pig, a female believed to be a young adult or juvenile, was found in an average plastic dog crate on the sidewalk near the intersection of Rising Sun Avenue and Tustin Street, adjacent to Pennypack Park, in the Fox Chase-Burholme area.
Philadelphia police contacted the PSPCA to alert them to the discovery of the pig's body.
While a decapitated animal may sound to the layman like it relates to an occult ritual, Wilson said that is likely not the case.
Wilson believes the perpetrator was someone "who simply wanted to do something cruel for the sake of cruelty."
"Often, when we find animals that have had their head removed and those type of issues, people tend to think of animal sacrifice," Wilson said. "but pigs aren't used in animal sacrifice because they're considered unclean animals, so that's not something we believe is attributable in this case."
As no pigs have recently been reported stolen or missing in the Philly area, the PSPCA believes the pig's owner or caretaker was either responsible or knows the people responsible for this crime. It is illegal to own a pig in the city of Philadelphia, but Wilson said they have encountered locals who keep pigs as pets over the years.
The last time a pig's head was involved in a high-profile crime, was in December 2015 days after the San Bernardino mass shooting, following then-candidate candidate Donald Trump's call for an illegal "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States."
The night after Trump made his comments, a pig's head was flung at the exterior of the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society in Kensington. (Pork and pig products are forbidden under a Muslim halal diet as it is in under the Jewish rules of kosher.) The incident drew widespread condemnation from local leaders and was investigated by Philly police and the FBI, but no arrest was ever reported.
But the location where this decapitated pig was recently found on Monday is not close to synagogues, mosques, or even butcheries or meat-packing plants.
Wilson said the PSPCA has received a few tips from the public that they are following up on currently. Another potbellied pig was dropped off at an ACCT Philly shelter on Monday with injuries to its ear, and the two cases may be related, Fox29 reported.
"The owner or caretaker of the pig is likely responsible for what happened," Wilson said. "Whoever did it, the way pigs are behaviorally, this pig was likely very vocal, pigs are very animated animals, they're very intelligent animals, and clearly this pig would have gone through some very stressful times prior to this terrible act being committed."
To report animal cruelty to the PSPCA, call their hotline at 866-601-SPCA.