JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston police say they captured a pig Friday that escaped from his owner approximately a month ago from a Johns Island property.
Police spokesman Charles Francis said drivers called police about a pig in the roadway at Maybank Highway and Wildts Battery Boulevard.
“The little porker apparently ran away from home and escaped his owner and eluded capture,” Francis said. “The owner gave up on catching him and that’s when Animal Services stepped in.”
The animal remained in the general area and continued to elude capture as Animal Services officers tried to catch him in a humane dog trap baited with fruits and dog food.
Charleston Police Animal Services Officers and Charleston County Sheriff’s deputies cornered him in a yard and captured him with large nets Friday, Francis said.
George Gratzick witnessed the capture.
“They looked like they were running through the woods. They were beat. They were out of breath. They were not real happy but they had caught him,” Gratzick said. “It’s really great that he is now safely caught.”
Gratzick knows the area well and has helped rescue animals in the past. He says he does not want anything bad to happen to the pig.
“The concern is safety,” Gratzick said. “He was going to get run over eventually, or someone was going to swerve and have an accident trying to avoid him.”
The pig was transported to the Charleston Animal Society, safe and sound, Francis said.
The animal society wasted no time in giving the pig a name.
“We have named him Wilbur because that’s what we do at the animal society. As soon as an animal comes in we come up with a name,” said Aldwin Roman, vice president of operations and strategy at the Charleston Animal Society. Several people had been calling Wilbur the Maybank Pig and, alternatively, Maybacon.
In a Facebook post, the owner of the pig said they never named him because he was intended to be BBQ. Another pig – name Pigtoria – also escape but was killed after getting hit by a car.
While the original owner has the right to reclaim the animal, Roman and Gratzick hope Wilbur will be spared from the barbeque.
“Having fostered pigs myself, they’re incredibly smart, incredibly loving and very complex creatures. They are just as intelligent if not more so than dogs,” Roman said. “I would hope if the owners aren’t interested in him that someone may be interested in adopting him and giving him a full, loving life.”
Gratzick says the pig has become the talk of the town. He says several people have already expressed interest in adopting him
“He kind of runs like a little puppy he looks like he’s having fun. He’s just oblivious to the world,” Gratzick said. “You know traffic is horrible on Johns Island, especially in the Maybank Highway area. I think it cheered people up a little bit, you know they were frustrated and wanted to get home and look out the window and say ‘hey look there’s a pig’.”
There will be a complete examination and then a Wilbur will be held for a five-day stray hold, but then he can be adopted.