HERRIN, Ill. – Michelle Mezo said she wasn’t surprised when she found one of her son’s high school friends had brought a stray pig back to her house back in November.
“I called around to find someone [to] take this pig and no one would,” Mezo said.
Mezo said she called officials from the city and they suggested finding the pig a home but would take the pig from her, if needed.
“The city was going to try to come and get him and take him to a neighbor’s farm but a city worker accidentally dropped the pig and it’s been loose ever since,” Mezo said.
Police, city officials and area residents have attempted to catch the elusive swine without much success.
“One day I came home from work and there were six officers outside my yard trying to catch her,” Mezo said.
John “Michael” Connell, a maintenance worker for the Herrin Parks Department, said he first noticed the pig on the loose several months ago and believed the swine was swindled into custody.
“A couple days later, by the dog park, there’s this big pig across the street chasing a dog around,” Connell said. “That pig will stop and let you catch up to her and then take off – it isn’t afraid of anything.”
Connell said the pig has not caused his department any problems so far.
“It’s a pretty cool pig, I think” Connell said. “She doesn’t bother anything and doesn’t cause any problems so we left her alone.”
Mezo said her dog Harley, a ten-year-old Black Labrador Retriever, has built a special bond with the pig, most recently dubbed “Porkchop.”
“They sleep next to each other […] she’s really just grown on him. They’re best friends,” Mezo said.
She said she wasn’t surprised surprised by the friendship because Harley loves everyone but there is one thing in particular the pair have in common – they’re escape artists.
“The pig and the lab are always there together,” Connell said. “The lab started going back home and the dog sits down to wait for her and then pig catches up to the dog.”
Mezo said it has gotten to the point where Harley has climbed fences and gotten out of cages. The workers from animal control and the dog are no strangers.
Becky Potter, a Herrin resident of four years, said she started seeing friends post pictures of the pig over social media when she launched “The Herrin Pig,” a Facebook group dedicated to keeping a tab on Porkchop.
“I thought it would be funny to make the Facebook page and when I added my friends, they added their friends and it blew up to where it is now,” Potter said.
Potter said a few members of the group are working on getting “I break for Porkchop” car decals made with the proceeds benefiting Herrin Animal Control.
Mezo said if Porkchop is caught or disappears – she will be missed.
“She’s been so entertaining for all of us,” Mezo said. “If anyone does catch her, I would like them to at least contact us to make sure she gets to the right place. She does have a home, it’s about getting her there.”
Potter said the group has brought people together from different backgrounds and beliefs.
“Everyone from different walks of life are cheering this pig on – this is something happy,” Potter said. “Pig spotting is now a sport in Herrin.”