From Rooterville, A Sanctuary Inc.
Formerly Wings of Mercy Animal Rescue
Spreading Compassion through:
Rescue, Education, Activism
A 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization
"Pigs need love too!" ~ from "BABE"
LaBelle, Florida Rescue
A RESCUER'S PERSPECTIVE...
Well, folks..... These last few days have been unreal! If I could only describe for you what we went through to help those poor animals in Labelle.... Anyone who has any compassion at all would have done whatever it took to get them out of there. The suffering and misery that have been going on at that place are indescribable. I couldn't even imagine what Lana, of Pigs as Pets Association, must have witnessed when she first went there, seeing the emaciated group of over 20 dogs and dead animals too.
All I can say is that the pics that she put on the list did not prepare me for what I was about to see, they couldn't even come close to the experience of actually being there. It was overwhelming. I don't know how to possibly describe it.
The shame of it all is that it did not happen overnight. Over a period of years, these poor people (the 78 y/o lady and her elderly, mentally handicapped brother) have lived in filth and the most wretched conditions while the pigs and other animals have been breeding, being chased and killed by dogs, with
animals dying all around them and they weren't even capable of caring for themselves, let alone the animals. It was heartbreaking. Their family ought to be criminally charged for allowing this living hell to continue.
I left to go down Friday night. I was supposed to have another person go with, so I waited for her to get off of work after 5:30 PM, well, she never showed up. SO, I had to drive all the way by myself, leaving much later than I would have. I didn't get to bed til around 3:00AM and was up Sat AM at 7.
Fortunately, everyone was running late, including me! LOL I met everyone at Lana's house and we headed over there. Upon arrival, I just wanted to leave & pretend that it was just a bad dream..... One side of me wished that I had never come; it was so overwhelming. The other side of me was glad that I was able to be there and help out with such a desperate situation. I wanted to cry, but I couldn't. I was in shock. I hope to God we never find another situation like this one, EVER. Poor Lana.... What she must have been going through. It took us all a while just to take in the horror and the enormity of the situation. It was too much to comprehend, too awful for words.
Well, turning our backs and leaving was not an option; so the next question was, where do we start? The pigs were running loose everywhere. A horse trailer had been brought in to get them to go into to eat, but no one thought to shut it while they were in there before we arrived. So, Lana & a couple of other ladies got set up to start administrating shots while the guys started figuring out how to catch pigs! We began finding little puppies strewn about that were varying ages and some seemed near death. One lab mix was inside the "house", just inside the window with a dead puppy laying beside her. It was so filthy and so disgusting in there, I didn't even want to look. They had chicken wire for screens.
Once the chasing started, Darlynn & I had to find a better way to get this job done, so we took off to the feed store to get fencing, a catch net, some posts, dog food, insect spray and better needles for the syringes. We were worried that either the guys, the pigs or both would be dead from heat stroke by the time we returned! LOL
Upon arriving back, we were pleased to see that the guys had figured out a way to herd some of the pigs into a dilapidated old shed area using pieces of tin, boards and whatever else they could find in the piles of junk strewn around the place. The shed's roof was caved in, the floor was littered with all sorts of trash, the excrement and dirt were about 6 inches deep and the smell was..... You don't want to know!
The feed store was kind enough to let us use some sturdy gates and we used them to help corral the remaining pigs. They kept trying to hide under the trailer and poor Lynne, Butch and Michael had to keep crawling under there to shoo them out. They should get a medal for bravery for doing that! I wouldn't have crawled into that mess! They managed to get all but a few.
As they were caught, the pigs were carried out to the table where the crew waited to vaccinate, worm and trim tusks. Boars were put into the trailer and the girls were loaded into another waiting trailer. Fortunately, there was enough shade to keep them cool. I sprayed them all down with horse insecticide in case there were any lice or parasites on them. This took most of the day, and it was a HOT day! Everyone was filthy, hot, tired, and hungry.
The girls and the small babies were taken over to the spot where the pen was built for them. Lana's daughter took all of the puppies home with her to care for. The boars were turned back loose on the property, there was no where to take them to safety and it is killing me knowing that the lady said
that dogs get into the yard at night and she hears them chasing the pigs, but she can't do anything about it. Not only that, but some of the neighbors were making remarks about eating them! We need to get those boys out of there to safety.
The "owner" of the animals was crying, she was sad to see her animals taken from her, but knew that it was best for them. I felt so sorry for her and her brother, but my emotions seemed to be frozen. I can't describe it. It was too hard to feel what I felt, so there was no emotional response. I wanted to give her a big hug and tell her it would be alright, but I wasn't sure it WOULD be alright! It is heartbreaking, just heartbreaking. But, you don't have time for that when the job needs to be done.
At the new place, the girls, were sorted by a very tired and very hungry Lynne, from Noah's Ark Sanctuary in Tampa, who did her best to determine which were & weren't pregnant. The ones that were deemed not pregnant, or not far along, were given shots to make them abort, just incase.
The rest, were to come home with me and were left in the trailer with a pool of water and some feed. Shortly after entering the new pen, a couple of the smaller pigs decided to make a break for it and squeezed out the holes on the hog panel! SO, it was back to work getting chicken wire put up to secure the perimeter before the little babies were released. Well, I think all of this was supposed to take a couple of hours..... By 6PM, I think we were finished! LOL There were a bunch of filthy dirty, hungry, tired, hot, sunburned, grumpy folks by that time! But, we couldn't have accomplished such a huge thing without each of them! They worked so hard and all of them had their own animals at home, hours away, waiting to be cared for. Poor Lynne has over 100 rescues at her sanctuary that she cares for by herself. We all had better things to do, but we didn't have any choice. These animals needed help desperately.
In the meanwhile, one of the smaller female pigs was obviously having a bad reaction to the shot and was not doing well. Darlynn took her home, I haven't heard how she was doing. Her condition was grave.
After transferring my load of 14 girls into my U-Haul trailer, I arrived home around 2AM. I had to stop every hour and buy ice for them and let them get fresh air. They were hot and stressed out. Upon arrival, I got them unloaded into their new barn with lots of fresh hay, sprayed them down with bug spay and left a heat lamp on in case anyone had babies.
Easter Sunday morning, I really wanted to sleep in, but Mark woke me at 7:30 to tell me that there were babies. I hurried out there to find one of the fatter pigs with five healthy looking tiny black babies. She seemed like she really didn't know what was going on, the poor thing was probably in a state of shock. I got her settled in a safe spot with the babies and tried to get her to lay down. She was not behaving like a good mother. She was not careful about where the babies were and laid on them all once! She stepped on one of them, ripping a big piece of her skin around the shoulder. I don't know if she is going to make it or not. She seems real perky. I had to bring her in after she wandered
off and got buried in the hay by herself.
The new mother didn't seem to have much milk and I called everywhere trying to get a shot for her to bring down her milk, without success. No vets would help me out. So, I mixed up some milk and began supplementing them in hopes that as they get stronger, she will get more milk. A cute aside, one of the small females LOVES the babies. I think she may have her own very soon, but she lays down with the mom & babies too. She calls to the babies and even lets them suckle! I don't know if she has milk, but the babies seem to love her too! So they have two moms to care for them.
Now, they are nearly a week old. Sadly, the injured baby died in the night. The remaining four, though very tiny, are doing well and getting fat. They love to be scratched under their chins and will fall over for a belly rub! I have to scold them for coming out of their barn into the yard, they are TOO young for that yet! LOL They are just precious.
I am really feeling overwhelmed, still, with all of this. I hope all the babies born will do well and can stay with their moms.....
These pigs who have made it through the incredible conditions that they were in are one group of survivors, that is for sure. I don't know how so many of them lived through day after day in that environment, and I can't imagine how many perished. I hope we never, ever have to be involved in such a tragic situation as this again.
You can see pics at www.pigsaspets.org , but keep in mind, unless you were there, you will never be able to comprehend the situation. Please, if anyone can help financially to make this incredible rescue a success and help get those boars out of there and pay for their care and transportation--if you saw what they lived through, you would dig deep to do what you could to help them out. We will have vet bills for spays/neuters and then we still don't know how many babies we will end up with. All of these poor creatures will need homes and transportation to their new homes as well.
Also, if anyone close to me in Jacksonville, FL, might be able to care for babies in the event they have to be taken from their moms, please let me know. I just won't be able to bottle feed babies as often as they will need to be. Please consider giving one of these special pigs a home. They are all very small, and though some are a little on the homely side, they are all special and deserve so much more...
Please help them as much as you possibly can.
Donations can be made by PayPal to [email protected] . Please visit the website: www.pigsaspets.org and click on Labelle Rescue. Also, there are beautiful prints available for sale made from engravings and etchings from books over 100 years old to help with the enormous costs of this rescue. Click here to see these prints. Veterinary help is most welcome, especially in the north FL area, to spay all of the girls. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you to those of you who do help. May God Bless you richly!
You can reach me at [email protected] or by calling 904-716-9074.
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