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Madonna The Pig Gives Authorities A Chase Through Converse Heights

Alexander Morrison, Staff Writer
Published January 31, 2006
www .goupstate.com

She is a heavy, hairy Houdini. A 6-month-old, 70-pound pot-bellied pig -- Madonna Rosie to her friends and acquaintances -- escaped from her pen Monday and wandered from yard to yard in Converse Heights, waddling through small hedges and snorting at a black Lab.

"I had a strange hankering for barbecue, but I refrained," said County Librarian Todd Stephens, who spotted the pig on Fairview Avenue as he drove home for lunch and reported it to city animal control.

Madonna's oink-filled romp was cut short when animal control officer Maxie Miller arrived on the scene.

Madonna led Miller on a long chase, escaping his clutches several times, but the stalwart public servant would not be denied.

"We cornered it and grabbed it and tied it," Miller said. "She's a very tame, very mild pig. She just didn't like being held."

After hogtying the little swine -- full grown pot-bellies weigh up to 250 pounds -- Miller put her in his truck and took Madonna to the Spartanburg Humane Society.

Pig owner Alex Junco retrieved her later in the afternoon and explained how Madonna escaped her pen.

"I guess she just rooted herself out of there," Junco said.

That didn't surprise Dr. John Irwin, a livestock specialist at Clemson University's extension program.

"The pot-bellies are notorious escape artists," Irwin said. "They have a scavenger-like mentality -- that's just the nature of the beast."

He added that they are terrible to eat -- he guessed 70-pound Madonna Rosie would yield less than 10 pounds of extra fatty bacon.

Junco said he and his girlfriend, Rebecca Workman, have no plans to eat his pet.

Even though there is an ordinance against keeping livestock within city limits, Madonna seems to be in the clear -- in part because no sane hog farmer would want her.

While animal control officials said Monday afternoon that they were still reviewing the case, Junco was optimistic: "Pot-bellied pigs are domesticated animals -- we get to keep her."

Alexander Morrison can be reached at 562-7215
or alex.morrison@shj.com.

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