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Pet Craze Over: Woman Cares For 397 Pigs

Flagler County Woman Rescues Abandoned Animals

June 4, 2001

BUNNELL, Fla. , 5:43 p.m. EDT June 4, 2001 -- A Bunnell woman cares for 397 pigs at the "Pig Tales Sanctuary" where the wheelchair-bound animal lover rescues porkers abandoned after the pet-pig craze petered out.

Lory Yazurlo's collection began with the once-popular Vietnamese potbellied pigs, which humane society officials worry are making a comeback.

Yazurlo recalled paying $200 each for two of the potbellied pigs when the mania for them was at its height. Now she has so many pigs, she can't take in any more of the animals. Her sanctuary also includes chickens, peacocks and horses.

"Pigs don't do good as house pets," she said. "When there aren't any other pigs around, they'll start snapping, fighting and pushing you around. If you try to discipline them like a dog, they'll bite you.

"If you leave them alone at home, they'll tear the house apart."

Officials at the Humane Society of the United States are concerned that the fad is making a resurgence. Since there's no license or registration required for the potbellied pigs, no one knows just how many are around, but humane society officials estimate that millions of the adopted pigs were later abandoned.

"They were touted as something that could live in your house," said Richard Farinato, the humane society's director of captive wildlife protection. "But a pig is a pig is a pig ... Keeping them in a house is next to impossible."

Yazurlo, 37, watches over the collection from a deck overlooking the sanctuary. Big Red, an 800-pound Hampshire, wallows in mud. Bacon, a Vietnamese potbellied pig, sits beside Yazurlo's chair. A number of them bask beneath a school bus decorated with the bumper sticker "Meat is Murder."

Yazurlo, who was injured in a car accident in 1991, bought her 20-acre spread in western Flagler County thinking she'd open a horse farm.

Instead, her sister gave her a pig for Christmas, and Pig Tales Sanctuary was born.

When she wheels around the property outfitted with shelters including a camper, a long line of pigs forms behind her.

Her boyfriend or court-ordered community service workers usually help her with the daily feedings but she's also able to open the 100-foot gate to the feeding pen on her own.

Many of the pigs are victims of misfortune: one has a broken pelvis and spinal cord injury. Others are typical pigs but their owners found they couldn't care for an 800-pound creature in their home.

She gets discounted veterinary services, but the $1,000-a-month feeding costs are hard for the Yazurlo, who relies on disability checks and insurance payments. She receives about $600 a month in donated produce.

Copyright 2001 by myCFnow.com.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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