Why Do I Scream
It began with screaming. The screaming persisted and was followed by the overwhelming of smell of fecal matter. Then the appearance of fly's swarming around the sidewalk area adjacent to Bubba's house.
Neighbors were beginning to talk about it in passing. Neighbors that own dogs, cats and birds, these people are pet lovers. Why would a pig weighing over 200 pounds be kept in a one bedroom residential apartment? Could sharing the space with a dog and it's two owner's be the reason for Bubba's continued cries?
Bubba never exhibits this behavior when he's walking on the greenbelt. Certainly an animal of this size would be happier if he only had more space, adequate space. After the weeks of troubling sounds and smells turned to years, it was times for answers.
Turning to the internet it became immediately apparent the primary issue was Bubba's home. The site www.pigs.org clearly states in one sentence that “Potbellied pigs are not recommended as apartment, condo or townhouse pets”.
According to the same website “Many problems have been associated with keeping pigs full-time including intensified aggressive behavior, urinating & defecating outside the litter pan”. This sounded a lot like what was going on with Bubba. But he is a pot belly pig, surely these problems only applied to farm pigs.
Unfortunately Vietnamese potbellied pigs are not small animals as depicted by breeders and promoters. To our dismay we found an article published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association which confirmed our suspicion. It states the number one reason given by humane societies for people relinquishing a pig to a shelter is larger than expected size.
Bubba is a cute, sweet animal that deserves the best. Maybe if he had more space he'd be happier, healthier and scream less. In an article published on the website sugarmtnfarm.com titled “How much land per pig”, the author, a self described farmer & quantum mechanic explains that the animals need “about 10 sq/ft of land per pound of finisher pig equivalent”. This means Bubba, who per his owners weighs in at around 200 lbs, needs approximately 2,000 sq/ft of space to live adequately.
Upon learning of Bubba's living arrangements on CBS channel 2 news, it was time to call the experts at the animal rehabilitation and rescue non-profit The Gentle Barn. This organization is committed to protecting animals and acts as a shelter for pets that have outgrown their home's.
Surely the animal friendly community of Seal Beach could see Bubba's suffering. Seen on the channel 2 news interview, when he steps outside the front door his right hoof buckles. This is known as foundering, inflammation in the tissue structure to which the hoof is attached which, according to thefreedictionary.com is the result of overeating and lack of exercise.
Is the city council the only authority who seeks to protect animals that require open space to live a healthy life? It's appalling to see this issue being painted as neighborhood pet bullying when it's about prevention of animal cruelty.
If there is a local Veterinarian reading this, we implore you as concerned citizens to volunteer your time; visit Bubba at his home to make a formal assessment of this health and living space. Sitting idly and continuing to point fingers only puts Bubba's health further at risk.
- Nat Ferguson