By Venice Buhain
Dec 06, 2004 - 07:34:31 am PST
source:The Daily News
RAINIER --- A month after someone killed and mutilated Charlie the African mini pig, his owner still mourns.
"I miss him, all 200 pounds of him," said Rosemary Scandale of Rainier. "He was such a sweetheart."
She and others are trying to find her pet's killer. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who killed the pig.
A pig sanctuary in Sedro-Woolley, Wash., that adopted out Charlie to Scandale contacted the organization about the killing, said PETA caseworker Kristin DeJournett. She said the reward is one way the organization reacts to cases of animal abuse.
"Unsolved ones are a priority," DeJournett said. "People who abuse animals ... won't do it just once."
Scandale said that the morning of Nov. 6, she noticed Charlie's pen had been cut open during the night and he was missing.
She immediately called the Columbia County Sheriff's Office and put up her own reward posters for Charlie's return. Charlie's body was found a few days later on an unpaved section of Delena-Mayger Road, Scandale said.
His heart and other organs were in a bucket near his body, she said, and one of his hind legs had been cut off.
The people who found him told Scandale that it looked as if one or more people had been butchering him by the headlights of a car, and then suddenly abandoned the pig after being scared away.
"If he had been more shy, this wouldn't have happened," she said. "When he saw a human being, he would run up to them."
Scandale and her husband, Joseph, adopted Charlie in March from a rescue group. Scandale said she was not sure how the sanctuary had removed Charlie from a laboratory that tested acid reflux medications on him.
Scandale said Charlie was an affectionate pet who loved rooting for pieces of bread in his pen and having his stomach rubbed.
"They make wonderful pets," she said. "You would treat them as you would treat an honored dog, as part of the family."
Columbia County Undersheriff Gerry Simmons verified the burglary and discovery of the pig, but said the department would not verify details of the case, citing the ongoing investigation. Simmons said a detective is following up on leads, but the PETA reward has not yet resulted in tips.
Meanwhile, Scandale said, she's been harassed by "opportunists," who call her, claiming that they ran over Charlie and demanding payment for damage to their cars.
"It has been verified the animal was not hit by anything," she said.
Scandale said she does not feel that her family was targeted by whoever took Charlie, but her other animals have been moved to another place for their safety.
"I still cry an awful lot, and when I stop crying I get mad," she said. "He deserved better than that. Human trust should not be betrayed.
Anyone with information about the killing of Charlie, a pot-bellied pig, should call the Columbia County Sheriff's Department at (503) 366-4611 or call People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals toll-free at 1-800-588-9058.