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Mini Pigs: Expectation vs reality

Posted at 4:07 PM, Sep 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-17 19:10:17-04
The American Mini Pig Association tries to regulate and set standards for the industry. (MTN News file photo)

MISSOULA – Videos of Mini Pigs have inspired adoption all over the globe but for many, they got a bit more than they bargained for.

When retired Los Angeles Police Department detective Pam Neil and her husband moved to Corvallis, they decided it was time to adopt their very own mini piglet.

After days of research, Pam found a breeder in Utah who was willing to sell her a “Super Mini Micro Piglet” but when she picked the piglet up from the airport she could tell the stress of flying had taken its toll.

“I bonded with him quite quickly. I took him to the vet right away. I only had him for a day because I knew he wasn’t right,” Pam recalled. “He weighed four pounds at that time he was three months old because he was born in January.”

They named him Serpico and he’s now two years old and weighs 75 pounds. As he grew it became almost impossible to live with him in the home.

Pam admitted that after doing hours of research before her purchase she knew there was a slight possibility that Serpico could grow larger than expected, but she never predicted he would weigh so much.

MTN News asked Missoula veterinarian Shoni Card if it’s even possible to breed a pig that small?

“Certainly [with] genetic selection you can probably breed pigs that are that tiny, but you’re going to encounter issues with the health of the piglets,” said Card.

Card added it’s important to see the parents before adopting but added that you should never assume that your pig will for sure be that size.

“It may not be a deliberate deception. Because with breeds that are bred to be smaller like that…came from bigger pigs, and you will sometimes get a bigger pig…a pig that but ends up bigger than his mother and father were,” said Card.

Sharndra Sedberry, the owner of Montana Mini Pigs said that she has seen a lot of irresponsible breeding in the past.

“People are selling piglets at swap meets. I mean it’s backyard breeding. It’s the same problem with dogs,” Sedberry said.

“But I’m finding that people are a lot more conscientious of that then they used to be and I think it’s because people get tricked — and they don’t want to be that person that gets tricked,” she added.

The American Mini Pig Association tries to regulate and set standards for the industry but not all breeders in Montana — and the rest of the US — stick to those codes.

Reporting by Lauren Heiser for MTN News