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Pigs in heaven at W.Va. sanctuary

October 08, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -- Along the driveway to PIGS Animal Sanctuary is a statue of a large pig with a sign around its neck.

The sign tells animals arriving at the center that their troubles are over and they now have a home.

After being stranded on a levee during flooding in Iowa over the summer, the 15 pigs who arrived at the sanctuary Tuesday might have thought that looked pretty good.

The 15 pigs who arrived at the sanctuary off Persimmon Lane between Shepherdstown and Kearneysville, W.Va., were among more than 60 piglets and breeding sows rescued from a levee in Oakville, Iowa, in June and July following flooding in the Midwest, according to Farm Sanctuary, an animal shelter in Watkins Glen, N.Y., where the animals were taken initially.

After being left behind by evacuating farmers in Iowa, the pigs were stranded without food, clean water or shelter, were severely dehydrated, suffered third-degree burns from sun exposure and had lung damage from taking in contaminated water as they swam for their lives, according to a news release from the organization.

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After being cared for at the New York shelter, PIGS Animal Sanctuary agreed to take 15 of the pigs. They will live out the rest of their lives in Shepherdstown, said Melissa Susko, who runs the local shelter.

"They will be able to do things pigs are meant to do, wallow in the mud, take long sunbaths," Susko said at her center on Tuesday afternoon.

The 15 pigs arrived there about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. Later in the afternoon, they seemed to be having a good time rooting through the mud, walking around in a shed full of hay in which they can lay and getting treats from Susko.

The local sanctuary is a a place of refuge for abused, abandoned, neglected and unwanted animals. They specialize in the care of potbellied pigs and farm pigs, but shelter other farm and domestic animals.

Anyone wanting to see the pigs can do so during the shelter's upcoming Fall Harvest Fest on Oct. 18 from 1 to 4 p.m.

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