CLEVELAND, MO (KCTV) -- You likely know who to call if a stray dog or cat wanders into your yard, but what if a pig is on the loose in your neighborhood?
It happens a lot all around the metro. So much so, that a group of pig owners teamed up to create the Kansas City Pig Rescue Network.
The nonprofit’s members have rescued or rehabilitated more than 200 pigs in the last two years.
Hank is just one of more of than 50 pigs that are up for adoption through the Kansas City Pig Rescue Network.
Fred and Betty were dumped in Cass County. Now, they are living on one of the rescue network’s three foster farms.
Kayli Haouk said, “At least once a week someone calls us and says, ‘Hey, there is this pig running,’ ‘Such-and-such pig was dumped here,’ or ‘There is a pig in my front yard. What do I do?’”
Rescuers said that, all too often, owners are overwhelmed when their piglet grows far beyond what a breeder promised, which causes a pet pig epidemic.
“People are surprised, quite often, when they get their little ‘teacup pig’ and a year later they've got a 120 pound pig,” Teresa Kearney explained. “Teacup pigs, micro-pigs, nano-pigs; they are piglets. They grow up into pigs. Anything under 300 pounds is a mini-pig. That's mini compared to 600-800 pound farm hog.”
Animal advocates said some breeders starve pigs to try and stunt their growth.
“It's easier to sell the myth of the teacup pig, of the micro-pig if you have this little pig that you can say, ‘This is the mom and dad,’” Haouk said.
Rescuers say that if you’re considering a pet pig then you need to do your research before buying.
“Check your zoning,” Haouk said. “Spay and neuter. And, little tiny teacup pigs do not exist.”
Members of the rescue network vaccinate and spay or neuter abandoned pigs. Then, they find them homes with owners they believe are educated and prepared to care for them.
“That will love them forever,” Haouk said. “Fifteen to 20 years. Pigs have a long lifespan if they are taken care of properly. It's a commitment.”