Pet pig that got loose in California slaughtered by neighbor, police say

ARCATA, Calif. — A 400-pound runaway pet pig, left in the care of a neighbor while police searched for its owner, was being slaughtered when authorities returned, the Sacramento Bee reported.

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"It's just a really bizarre case," Arcata Police Lt. Todd Dockweiler told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Princess, a 1-year-old Hampshire cross pig owned by Carrie Hogan, escaped from her pen in Arcata on March 23, the Lost Coast Outpost of Humboldt County reported. The animal stopped to graze in front yards, and police were called to capture the pig, the newspaper reported.

"Believe it or not, that's not a super uncommon call for us. We have a lot of loose livestock calls," Dockweiler told the Chronicle. "It is very common to have loose cows, loose horses, loose goats. (In this part of Arcata) it's still a neighborhood environment, but a lot of folks have a few acres."

Police said officers made a deal with a neighbor to watch the pig until they found the owner, the Outpost reported. When the officers returned, Princess had been slaughtered and cut up for meat, according to the newspaper.

"We were totally shocked and surprised to learn that the pig had been slaughtered," Arcata police Chief Brian Ahearn told the Outpost. "There was no reason to believe that that individual was going to do that."

"Obviously that was a bit of a shock to everyone involved," Dockweiler told the Chronicle. "Given the stage of the butchering process he was in, he must have slaughtered the pig very shortly after the officer left."

Hogan was mortified when she heard of Princess' death, saying that her family had raised the animal since it was a piglet, the Outpost reported.

“I think that the hardest part of this is knowing that there’s somebody out there that’s this kind of a savage,” Hogan told the newspaper.

According to Arcata police, slaughtering a pig that does not belong to you is a crime, and officers expect to forward a criminal charge to the district attorney's office when their investigation is complete, the Chronicle reported.

"We're evaluating whether there was a crime. We believe there was," Ahearn told the Outpost.