NEWS

Thousands of piglets run free in Ohio after truck crashes on highway

06/09/2015 08:42 EDT | Updated 06/09/2016 05:59 EDT
This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home. This little piggy had ice cream, and this little piggy had none.

But these little piggies? Well, as you may have surmised, they went "wee wee wee wee wee" — all over U.S. Route 35 near Xenia, Ohio, Monday night.
 

Local news outlets began reporting Monday evening that a semi carrying approximately 2,200 baby feeder pigs from South Carolina to Indiana had crashed on a highway after its driver lost control and slammed into a guard rail.

While neither the driver nor passenger were seriously injured in the crash, which reportedly took place around 7 p.m. ET, fire officials had declared between 300 and 400 piglets dead by 10 p.m.

Approximately 1,500 more, however, managed to escape from the truck.

"There's quite a few pigs that got out and ran from the accident. They're in the woods," said Xenia Township fire Chief Dean Fox to Cincinnati's WLWT a few hours after the crash. "I don't think we'll ever get all of them, I really, really don't. We'll try as hard as we can to retrieve all of them, but we probably won't retrieve all of them."

As news spread that hundreds of pigs were on the loose in Xenia, local farmers and residents soon began arriving to the crash site in an effort to help authorities.

Volunteers, parks and recreation officers, firefighters and multiple police departments were able to wrangle enough piglets from the surrounding area that officials could reopen the highway just eight hours after the crash had taken place.

"The help from local farmers meant a lot," Fox told WCPO Tuesday. "If we didn't have the farmers here with their livestock trailers, there'd be pigs every place still."

Nearly all of the baby pigs had been rounded up and taken to the Greene County Fairgrounds by sunrise on Tuesday.

The feeder piglets, which are usually about eight weeks old, were given food, water, and tended to by a veterinarian if medical care was needed at the fairgrounds.

By Tuesday evening, a Cleveland truck company had delivered the surviving piglets to Indiana where they'll be raised and then, eventually, slaughtered — except for the ones that evaded capture.

"We estimate about 100 that are still alive and roaming around," said Ohio Department of Natural Resources wildlife management supervisor Brett Beatty to WCPO.

Beatty said that his department is now working to round up the remaining animals, but did not reveal how or what will happen to the piglets once they're apprehended.

"We are concerned about the wildlife," he said. "Pigs, once they are released or escape, can actually damage and cause problems … and have a very negative impact on fragile ecosystems."

Authorities are now encouraging those who spot rogue piglets near the crash site to contact police.

"If somebody finds a pig and wants to turn it in, call the local law enforcement," said Fox. "We'll try to take care of it."

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