When one man brought his new “mini” pig home, he was presumably pleased with his pet. However, as time passed, the creature started to transform before his very eyes. That’s when the disgruntled animal owner realized he’d been scammed.
“Teacup” pigs have become a popular fad among pet owners in recently years. In theory, the animals are only supposed to grow as large as a small family dog. This means owners can enjoy all the cuteness of a pig without the commitment of caring for a full-sized farmyard animal.
Presumably attracted to the prospect of cuddling up to a pocket-sized porker, a man in Washington D.C. decided to purchase a teacup pig of his own. And this animal would later become known as Dani.
Thanks to the boom in backyard micro pig breeders in recent years, it isn’t hard for people to get their hands on an allegedly miniature piglet. However, there is a problem when it comes to finding a reputable buyer.
Because micro pigs are so popular, some breeders have tried to exploit the market. As a result, the occasional seller has sold piglets while claiming them to be fully grown. With that in mind, Dani’s owner should have been more careful where he made his purchase.
However, upon setting eyes on Dani, the man decided that she was the pig for him. He handed over his money in confidence, and brought his new mini pig home. However, as the days passed, his new pet began to transform before his very eyes.
Before long, Dani had completely outgrown her owner’s expectations. That’s because the pig was not “micro” at all. She was in fact part of the Duroc breed, meaning she could grow as large as 650 pounds.
Dani’s owner had been duped. However, he wasn’t the only one to fall victim to a “teacup” pig scam. That’s because there’s actually no such thing as a “mini” or “teacup” pig at all. Instead, animals marketed as such are often smaller breeds that sellers malnourish to limit their growth.
Upon realizing that he’d been scammed, Dani’s owner was annoyed. “[He] realized when she grew so rapidly that she was going to be much larger,” Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary director Terry Cummings revealed on the shelter’s Facebook page in February 2018.
Recognizing that Dani was going to grow much larger than expected, the man was unwilling to care for her. So, in February 2018, he spotted an opportunity to rid himself of the pig. And it seemed he would stop at nothing to give the animal away.
Explaining what had happened, Cummings revealed the man had noticed animal control officers in his area and seized his opportunity. “He handed her over to animal control when they were investigating another call in his neighborhood,” she wrote.
Cummings added, “[He] told them he had named her ‘Chris P. Bacon,’ and didn’t want her anymore.” What Dani’s owner said angered Cummings. However, when she learned of the pig’s predicament she knew she had to help.
Consequently, Cummings gave the animal a forever home at Poplar Spring in Poolesville, Maryland. There Dani was free to be a pig, without worrying about fitting into anyone’s expectations of her.
When Dani arrived at her new home, sanctuary staff could get to work on helping her thrive. Because she was a little cold, they gifted her with an adorable sweater. Furthermore, they placed her bed under a lamp so she could stay nice and snug.
Writing on Facebook, Cummings said, “She’s been enjoying her big comfy dog bed, which she piled high with hay and burrowed in, under a toasty heat lamp. She is adorable, friendly and sweet, and loves snuggling in our laps and getting belly rubs.”
Unfortunately, Dani isn’t the only pet pig to have found herself turfed out after growing too large. In fact, animal sanctuaries across the country have experienced an influx of surrendered hogs. Usually, they arrive when their owners realize the work that goes into raising a full-sized pig.
Explaining what often happens in these cases, in 2015 owner of VegasPigPets rescue Crystal Kim-Han told The Dodo, “[The] average pig surrendered to [VegasPigPets] is generally over one year old due to the fact that pigs grow for four to five years.”
Kim-Han added, “At 60 or so pounds [i.e., around one year of age, depending on the pig], people start to realize they had no clue what they got themselves into. At about two years, a lot of pigs go through a ‘terrible two’ stage, comparable to a teenage child, becoming testy and rebellious, picking fights with their human household, even challenging the other family pets.”
However, back at Poplar Spring, Dani was receiving all the care she needed. Furthermore, she was making her presence known throughout the sanctuary. “We had decided to let Dani out of her stall for a few minutes, but she had other ideas, and decided to meet the goats instead,” Cummings told The Dodo in February 2018. “She also refused to go back in her stall and we had to run around with her for a half an hour. We were exhausted, but she had a great time!”
And watching Dani settle in to her new home made Cummings’ job worthwhile. “We are so happy that she will never be anyone’s ‘bacon’ and will now get to live a wonderful, happy life that all pigs deserve,” she said.