Officers round up hundreds of pigs from overwhelmed Florida animal sanctuary – Metro US

Officers round up hundreds of pigs from overwhelmed Florida animal sanctuary

Pig Problem Florida
Numerous pigs roam the property of Mary Tharp in the Cottage Hill community, Thursday, June 1, 2023, in Pensacola, Fla. Animal control officers spent 3-and-a-half days rounding up 608 animals and shipping them off to farms or other locations in the region. (Tony Giberson/Pensacola News Journal via AP)

CANTONMENT, Fla. (AP) — Animal control officers rounded up more than 600 pigs from an animal sanctuary in Florida after their overwhelmed owner called for help.

It took nearly four days for officers in Escambia County to capture so many pigs on the 8-acre (3.2-hectare) property used by In Loving Swineness Sanctuary, said John Robinson, the county’s animal control director.

Last year, the sanctuary had about 150 miniature pigs that its owners were using to remove invasive cogon grass around the Florida Panhandle community of Cantonment, the Pensacola News Journal reported.

The pigs proved to be prolific procreators. Their population had grown so large, Robinson said, that the sanctuary operator called his agency last week saying: “I can’t take this anymore.”

During the roundup, the pigs showed “zero interest” in cooperating with animal control officers, who left several of the larger hogs behind to ensure nobody got hurt, Robinson said.

“It’s so difficult when you’re dealing with that many animals,” Robinson said. “It shouldn’t be the county’s responsibility to clean up somebody’s mess like that. At this point, we’ve basically zapped our resources.”

The captured pigs were divided up and trucked off to farms and other new homes outside the county.

The landowner on Tuesday was cited for violating a local zoning ordinance and ordered to pay a $250 fine. Robinson said county officials are weighing other potential sanctions against the property owner and the sanctuary operators.