Rescued Pig in hog heaven at Mockingbird Farm Sanctuary

Julie Sherwood
Pete the Pig has happily settled into his new home.

An abandoned pig who had been wandering for weeks on Brink Hill has a lot to be thankful for. After winning the hearts of neighbors on the hill in Italy, Yates County, the pig was rescued Saturday morning. Folks from Savannah Pig Rescue in Wayne County pulled out all the stops to lure the piggy into a pen. Due to lack of space at their own rescue farm they got the pig to their friends over at Mockingbird Farm Sanctuary in Genesee County. That is where the young pig — originally named Kevin, after actor Kevin Bacon — was renamed Pete and by all accounts is basking in hog heaven at his new home.

“He is very friendly,” said Duane Hebblethwaite, co-founder of Savannah Pig Rescue on Route 89. Hebblethwaite, who co-founded the rescue with girlfriend, Debbie McIlhagga, said they have rescued other pigs and not all as good-natured as this one. It was obvious this pig “was somebody’s pet,” he said. He estimated the pig is 18 months old and weighs about 60 pounds. “He is healthy, no wounds, he has good hair, a good coat ...” Hebblethwaite said. After being rescued, the pig let them pet him, he said.

Hebblethwaite and volunteer Bernie Harris arrived Saturday before dawn near the spot where the pig always went to eat. The pig gravitated to one particular apple tree in the state High Tor Wildlife Management area and slept on nearby private property. Hebblethwaite said the pig arrived later than his usual time between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., probably because hunters parked their pickup near the spot on the road where the pig crossed. Lured by food, the pig was hesitant at first to go into the gated area so they made the opening bigger. Eventually the pig made his way into the cage and after about 20 minutes of eating hit the trip wire that closed the gate.

At the pig’s new home at Mockingbird Farm Sanctuary in Byron, Kevin was renamed Pete. “Affectionately named after the man who alerted us to a local news article regarding Pete’s story,” posted the sanctuary on its Facebook page

“Pete had been wandering around on the loose since September, exposed to the elements and fending for himself as the temperature dropped. It is suspected that he was likely abandoned intentionally. Of course after reading this story, we jumped into action and worked with the amazing folks of Savannah Pig Rescue. They were able to patiently live trap him and bring him to his forever home here at Mockingbird.”

Amy Streed Klein, who rallied to help the pig, posted Saturday: “We’ll miss him roaming the hill but know he would be a probable meal for the coyotes if left for the winter.”

“I love a happy ending,” she said