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Fort Worth’s Feral Hog Policy Backfires

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Feral hogs number in the millions in North Texas, and do damage in the tens of millions of dollars.

So when Fort Worth animal control got a call Monday evening from a resident who needed help with one, in an area known for hog problems, it responded immediately.

“It was a resident that trapped, what they reported as a feral hog in their backyard,” said code complaince director Brandon Bennett.

Bennett said officers immediatley recognized though that it was not a feral hog, but a pot belly pig, commonly kept as pets.

It had no collar though, and officers said after they tried to corral it with a pole, it became aggressive and they tranquilized it with a dart.

After looking at it further, finding no microchip on the animal, and no registration for it with the city, officers decided it was likely a feral pig.

“The belief was they were dealing with a feral potbelly pig and it was humanely euthanized,” Bennett said.

The next morning though, they learned the pig had a name – Peanut.

“I think I’m still in shock,” said Peanut’s owner, Mary Kelleher. “I can’t even believe that. As many problems as I’ve had with feral hogs, ultimately it’s my pet pig that the city picks up.”

Kelleher had just taken the four-year-old pig in from its elderely owner two weeks ago.

She realized he was gone Monday, but couldn’t find him.

Tuesday morning when she called the animal shelter, they told her the pig had been euthanized.

Kelleher lives just a few hundred feet from where the pig was found, but she said no one from the city ever came to see if the animal might belong to her.

She lives in an agriculture zone and has horses, cattle, goats and pigs on the property. Fort Worth has a policy of immediately euthanizing feral hogs.

Feral cats though, and dogs, are kept for at least three days, even after they come out of quarantine.

Bennett said the case illustrates a possible need for a new policy on handling pigs on the loose.

“A partner, somebody who can take one of these pigs and hang onto it for awhile, just to see if an owner pops up,” he said.

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