Christina Johnson's neighbor found a pig in her yard on Sept. 28. The pig is now being kept at Emerald Coast Zoo.
OCEAN CITY — Christina Johnson was doing yardwork at her Ocean City home Sept. 28 when her neighbor came over to tell her that she'd found a pig in her yard.
"We were like, 'Where did this pig come from?'”, Johnson said. “There's no wooded areas where a wild pig would just show up randomly.”
Neither Johnson nor her neighbors, who included an Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office K9 deputy, knew much about pigs but they determined that it was a pot-bellied pig, most likely a juvenile. The pig was abnormally thin.
“I don't know by pig standards what large is but you could see his ribs,” Johnson said. “We're thinking it was abandoned.”
The OCSO deputy helped catch pig and agreed to keep it in his yard while they looked for the owner. The pig tore up the deputy’s grass during his short stay, but the deputy never complained, according to Johnson.
While the deputy watched the pig, Johnson and her neighbor searched for an owner. They posted photos of the pig everywhere, but when no owner came forward they turned to animal rescues.
After finding out that PAWS, Alaqua Animal Rescue and Hogwarts, a pig rescue in DeFuniak, were all full, Johnson’s neighbor suggested calling the Emerald Coast Zoo in Crestview. The zoo agreed to take the pig.
“They’re really nice,” Johnson said. “The owner was like if you can bring him to us, we’ll take him in and find him a home.”
Johnson then put the pig in a dog crate in the back of her van and took him to the zoo.
“I’ve not had a lot of experience with pigs,” Johnson said. “He was just like a dog. He would sit for you when you gave him an apple, he would lay on my daughter’s feet.”
Rick de Ridder, owner of the zoo, said they already have six or seven pigs so one more wasn’t a big deal.
“I felt bad for this lady walking around with a pig because a lot of times there aren’t a lot of options,” de Ridder said. “She didn’t know what to do. Even though we aren’t a rescue, we can always make room.”
Unless an owner shows up to claim him, the pig will soon join the petting zoo. Once in the petting zoo, de Ridder hopes someone will come up with a name for him.
“We’ve got to make sure he gets along with the other pigs first,” de Ridder said. “He’s a sweet little guy. The pigs will let us know when they’re ready."