A threatened animal sanctuary is struggling to rehome its two most unusual residents – a pair of Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs.
Cutie and Honey have been living at Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary in St Annes for more than three years.
The eight-year-old sisters now face an uncertain future as the sanctuary has been handed an eviction notice by landowners and must leave the site by the end of March.
While Easterleigh owner Mandy Leigh has managed to secure new homes and temporary housing for the sanctuary’s dogs, cats, rabbits, and even horses, she says that finding a person willing to house two stubborn pot-bellied pet pigs is a task easier said than done.
She said: “They were supposed to be these little pigs but they kept growing which a lot of them tend to do.
“They are friendly and funny and quite stubborn – they’ll do what you want them to do but in their own time.
“They’re no trouble at all. Once they get into a routine they’ll just take care of themselves. They take themselves out into the field if you point at the door. They would enjoy a nice big field to dig around in.
“I’ve had a lot of pigs over the years. Some people get this idea for keeping them in the back garden but it’s just not feasible because their natural instinct is to dig. People buy them and they have them in the house, which is fine when they’re little, but then they get bigger and bigger.”
Cutie and Honey were brought to the sanctuary after their former owners, who bought them as pets, moved into a small flat and no longer had the space to keep them. They are friendly and can live happily alongside dogs and horses.
Marc Cartmell, staff worker at Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary, said: “Honey is the more shy and reserved one. She’s quite soft and gets scared when there’s a lot of noise. She’s a bit of a wimp really! Cutie is much more confident. She’ll walk right up to you and nibble your feet.
“Honey gets a lot of her confidence from Cutie, and Cutie likes to take care of her, so we would really like to home them together. They’re sisters and they’ve been together since they were piglets. I suppose its harder to rehome two pigs but we’re staying optimistic.”
Mandy now fears the porky pair could attract unscrupulous characters looking to fill their bellies rather than a place in their yard.
She said: “They are not bred for meat so they would make a bad meal. We are registered with the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs so it would be a brave person who tried to slaughter them. If anyone had any thought of eating them we would come down on them like a ton of bricks.
“They’re definitely not going to be on anyone’s plate and if they were, the person who did it would be on my plate!”