WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control is holding a pig, which weighs about 350 to 400 pounds, after a Thursday eviction.
Officials said they took the pig, named "Pork Chop," away from its owner because it was severely obese, had a skin condition and needed its tusks and nails groomed. The owner, Kelly Jacobson, was cited twice for similar issues in February 2023 and September 2022.
Jacobson said she put the pig on a diet but has struggled to find someone who will groom pigs. She's said she just wants an opportunity to keep her friend.
"I'll do whatever I have to do to make him better," Jacobson said while crying to WPTV reporter Ethan Stein, "but, I need him."
Jacobson was evicted from a home in West Palm Beach, according to court documents, after a Fort Lauderdale-based landlord said she didn't pay rent for three months.
According to records, Thomas McDermott owns the company that owns the home where "Pork Chop" was living. He said the tenant told him the pig was removed six months ago.
Stephen Schmidt, who has a business near Jacobson's home, said he didn't see the pig. However, the animal has become the subject of office lore.
"It was quite a distraction, I do know that," Schmidt said. "They heard it across the street squealing, and it matches the exact description when I got back to the office."
Mark Gallopo, who lives near the home, said the pig's squeals were "sharp." He said he had never seen a pig so large where its belly was dragging on the ground.
"They actually had to lift it up from the backside, and she walked it from the frontside," Gallopo said.
Officials from Palm Beach County Animal Control said it picked up the pig in February 2023 because it needed veterinarian care due to issues with the pig's skin, nails, tusks and weight. It originally said it would put the pig on "special hold," where it would go up for adoption in a week unless the owner made arrangements.
WPTV found another citation over a pig with similar health issues in September 2022, which was brought to the attention of animal control. The fine, according to court records, still isn't paid.
Animal control officials then said it doesn't plan to give the pig back. It said it would be "petitioning the court for custody," which is the legal process required to remove an animal from the current owner.
Officials said the process takes about 30 to 60 days.
Can "Pork Chop" recover?
Annette Wrubleski of the Laughing Pig Sanctuary in Bartow, Florida, said pigs are very intelligent.
"They're sentient beings, just incredible, so misunderstood," Wrubleski said.
Wrubleski said she is used to caring for pigs like "Pork Chop," who now needs a lean diet of fruits, vegetables and grains.
"It's going to be a long process," Wrubleski said. "He can't walk and doesn't have that activity level to exercise, but it will come in time."