A local family is devastated after their pet pig Princess got loose and was killed for meat by an opportunistic community member. Now that person could be facing charges.
“She’s very sweet,” Princess’s owner Carrie Hogan told the Outpost, still referring to the animal in the present tense. “She’s not aggressive. She likes to be around people.”
Last Saturday morning, Princess, a near-400 pound Hampshire cross pig, escaped from her pen at a residence on Park Street on Fickle Hill in Arcata and took a high-profile jaunt around the neighborhood, occasionally stopping to graze in open front yards. The swine’s unauthorized outing drew the attention of concerned neighbors, and by 9 a.m. her exploits were featured on Humboldt Paws Cause’s Facebook page.
An officer from the Arcata Police Department was eventually summoned to try and figure out what to do with the pig. The animal carried no identifying tags or markings. No one in the area knew for sure where the pig had come from, so the officer struck some sort of deal with a man who’d been monitoring the scene who agreed to watch the animal for a period until a responsible party could be located. It’s unclear what the exact terms of the exchange between the officer and the man were, but within a few hours Princess had been taken onto a nearby property where she was slaughtered and cut up for meat.
Having made contact with a member of Princess’s family, the APD officer eventually returned to the area he’d left the pig early Saturday afternoon and discovered what had happened. APD Chief Brian Ahearn expressed dismay at the situation.
“We were totally shocked and surprised to learn that the pig had been slaughtered,” Ahearn said, adding that his officer had thought he’d reached a “reasonable arrangement” with the man. “There was no reason to believe that that individual was going to do that.”
Hogan was horrified to learn of Princess’s fate. She and her family had raised the animal, who turned a year old this January, since it was a piglet, at times bottle feeding the animal in her living room. As a member of FFA, Hogan’s daughter had shown the pig at the fair last year. They all considered Princess to be a part of their family.
Princess had been living in a pen at Hogan’s mom’s house at the time of her escape last weekend. During her walkabout she’d made her way down a deer trail and onto Shirley Avenue where she was spotted. It was on a property on this street where she was ultimately killed. Hogan said she is upset with the way the officer handled the situation.
“He took it upon himself to give my animal away and then it got butchered,” Hogan said while also noting that she is generally a supporter of law enforcement.
Hogan’s mom was the first member of the family to get the horrible news the officer which prompted her to go looking for the pig. She made her way up the driveway of the property where she’d been told the pig had been killed and confronted the man who who was still cutting up her family’s pet. The man was dismissive and told her to leave.
“He told her ‘You have no right to be on this property’,” Hogan said, relaying her mom’s words.
As far as Hogan knows, Princess’s killer still has the pig’s meat. She’d like to retrieve it — not because she plans to eat it but because she doesn’t want anyone to benefit from it — and says her family is committed to seeking legal justice for their beloved pet.
“I think that the hardest part of this is knowing that there’s somebody out there that’s this kind of a savage,” she said.
That savagery may come with a price. Chief Ahearn is hopeful that Princess’s killer will face consequences and said APD has passed the case on to the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office.
“We’re evaluating whether there was a crime. We believe there was,” he said.