Over the past few days, Manheim Township Police had received several calls about a pig — yes, you read that right — running loose through the streets of the Hamilton Park neighborhood in Lancaster Township.
It turns out that pigs are fast … and elusive … and this one eluded capture for days, presumably living off the land like its cousin, the wild boar. This morning, around 0930, a resident in the 900 block of Elm Ave called to report that a huge pig was sleeping under his backyard trampoline. Three Manheim Township police officers and a civilian police assistant, with over 40 years of experience, arrived and found that yes – this is a pig. And he is huge. Now what?
Typically, 40 years of combined police experience will solve almost any problem quickly. And had this been a dog or cat, it would have been resolved within an hour. But livestock on the loose? Not exactly in our wheelhouse. We do not have the equipment to capture, contain or even transport a pig. And where were we going to transport it even if we had those things? The butcher shop?
After several phone calls to several agencies and organizations, all of which were unable to help, a retired Manheim Township officer who has a passion for animals was contacted and suggested the Lancaster Farm Sanctuary.
A phone call later they were on their way with staff and pig catching stuff….which we think is the correct terminology.
Fortunately, this pig, who we had now named “Hamilton,” seemed pretty tired as he settled down for a nap in a shady corner of the mostly fenced yard. Note- “mostly” fenced yard. It becomes very relevant in an instant.
Lancaster Farm Sanctuary staff arrived and began formulating a plan to contain Hamilton and direct him into the back of their farm van, primarily by bribing him with food. Hamilton wasn’t really on board with this plan and found the one spot in the mostly fenced yard that wasn’t mostly fenced to make his escape back to the streets of Hamilton Park. A foot chase for the escaped pig ensued, and yes, we see the irony of 3 cops chasing a pig. As it turns out, Hamilton wasn’t as tired as we thought, because we’re pretty sure he’s the fastest pig alive. After almost being hit by a passing Tesla on Atkins Ave, Hamilton made a break for the open parking lot along West St and into another fenced area…which happened to be the yard of Pediatric Specialty Care on Rider Ave. Fantastic. An out of control pet in the play area of a pediatric medical facility. What could go wrong?
Officers entered the yard and found no patients or staff outside. But we saw Hamilton. And this time it was completely fenced off, not most of it. Lancaster Farm Sanctuary positioned their vehicle just outside the gate to the farm and after about 20 minutes of chasing Hamilton around inside the farm, probably much to the amusement of the Pediatric Specialty Care staff, we were able to secure Hamilton in a dog crate, read him in the back of the Sanctuary van. He was transported to their farm, where he will live out his days and tell stories to the other rescued farm animals about how he was saved from his “life on the streets.” Lancaster Farm Sanctuary intends to post updates about Hamilton on its social media pages.
The Manheim Township Police Department is extremely grateful for the help of several neighbors, the staff at Pediatric Specialty Care and the staff at Lancaster Farm Sanctuary in getting Hamilton “into custody”. We’re much better at catching criminals than we are at catching livestock, and without Lancaster Farm Sanctuary, we’d probably still be standing in that backyard on Elm Avenue staring at the sleeping pig and asking, “So, what now?”
Not all heroes wear capes – sometimes they wear Muck boots.