TEN STEPS TO A HAPPY ADOPTION
Warning to Potential Adopters
In 2019, a pig was rescued in one state and adopted to a person in another state. Lots of work went into finding the home for the pig and lots of expense both on the part of the pig rescuer and the adopter.
Then out of the blue, the rescuer decided she wanted the pig back. It ended in an ugly court battle. The adopter won, but not until after lots of money was paid out to an attorney along with other fees involved.
In the early part of 2000, another pig was adopted from a rescue place and later after lots of medical bills on the pig, the rescuer came and took the pig back with threat of a lawsuit if the pig was not returned. Having a medical emergency in the adopter’s home left no money to fight, and so the rescuer took back the pig but only after the adopter spent money to get the pig healthy.
More and more of these cases are popping up around the country. People are beginning to wonder if it is at all wise to adopt instead of buying a pig. Below are some tips that just might save time and money when adopting. We truly hope that this never happens to you but in case it does, it is a “Buyer Beware” scenario to say the least.
1. Check out the persons/place doing the adopting or placing.
Ask lots of questions. Find out how many placements they do in any given time frame, like a month or year. Are they a sanctuary or do they just do rescue and placement? Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
2. Ask for references and then check them out.
Get at least three or more references of pigs they have placed and then call and speak with the people and again, ask lots of questions. Check within the local community and also within the pig community.
3. Never adopt a piglet under the age of 6 weeks.
No piglet should be adopted before the age of 6 weeks and 8 weeks is better. Make sure the piglet has been wormed and either spayed or neutered or that arrangements are made to do so. No reputable sanctuary or rescue person will adopt out a piglet that is not at the right age and healthy. If you are asked to take a piglet that is younger, this should throw up a red flag. Be prepared for large medical bills and possibly losing the pig at a later date. Also it is hard to tell if the piglet is mixed or a full miniature at a young age. You might be getting one that is a mixed breed and could become larger than you expected.
4. Never adopt a pig that is sick or looks sick.
Again, no reputable sanctuary or rescue place/person will ask you to adopt a sick pig unless a full explanation is given well in advance. Ask questions and also find out if they are willing to help cover the cost of any and all medical bills for the life of the pig(let). Most reputable sanctuaries, rescue/person will want the pig healthy before adopting it out. This is their responsibility if they have taken on a sick pig or have a piglet whose mother is sick or has died.
5. Make sure you have a witness to the adoption. Don’t depend upon their adoption witness.
Bring a friend with you who is at least 18 yrs of age or older. Have them sign as a witness on the contract. Even if the place or person has a witness, they should also allow for your witness to sign. Also, you may want to take pictures as a safeguard, both of the pig and the signing of the contract. Just be sure and date the pictures so they match up with the signing of the contract and/or adoption.
6. Make sure that there is a clause in the adoption contract that states that they will take the pig back should anything happen and that if you have had to pay for medical bills within a reasonable length of time of adopting, you will be reimbursed.
Most contracts state that they will take the pig back, but as an added precaution, it should state who is responsible for the medical bills if the piglet is sick or gets sick within the first few weeks. Although most people are willing to cover medical bills on a much loved pet, it should be your choice and not forced upon you to do so.
7. If you are making a donation or paying an adoption fee, make sure it is legal within your state and ask to see financial records of past adoptions and adoption contracts.
Some states require that each organization be registered with their Division of Consumer Services. Any reputable organization will be glad to show you their records or give you a number to call for their state to check them out.
8. If you are adopting from a sanctuary, be sure and check out the place for cleanliness and that all pigs are disease free.
Look around and see if the place is kept clean and is moderately odor-free. Check for sick pigs or for pigs with hog mange. Check to see if water bowls are clean and if pigs have proper housing and bedding. Ask to see their quarantine pens for their sick or new arrivals. If they don’t have one, be careful as then there is no way to separate the sick from the healthy and you might be getting a pig that has been exposed to other swine illnesses.
9. Be sure you are zoned where you live for a pet pig.
Don’t take the word of the person adopting you the pig! Ask your local zoning department and get it in writing.
10. Legal Counsel
If you need legal counsel, make sure it is with one who has handled animal questions and problems before and/or has animals themselves. Never take anything for granted.
We truly hope the day never comes when you will have to fight to keep a pet you have come to love. It is why we advise people to do their homework first. Not just learning about the care of the pet pig, but also on where you are getting it.