Friday, November 30, 2007

It's Time To Trim Some Fat From Our Legal Justice System

Here's another lawsuit that our overburdened justice system just doesn't need to put on the table. A Winona, Minnesota woman is asking that abuse charges be filed against an acquaintance who was pet-sitting for her potbellied pig and allowed the animal to get fat. Michelle Schmitz said her pot-bellied pig, Alaina Templeton, weighed 50 pounds last spring when Schmitz left her with a co-worker. Nine months later, the pig was 150 pounds. Now the one-eyed Alaina is the subject of a police investigation into whether her pig-sitter abused her by neglecting and over-feeding her. No charges have yet been filed.

“That pig is my life,” says Schmitz. She even has a tattoo of Alaina’s name. “Everyone in Winona knows I have this pig.” Schmitz, who bottle-fed Alaina when she was just 11 days old, kept her on a strict diet to keep her weight at about 50 pounds. Ankle surgeries required her to go on medical leave. She said one of her co-workers — who was reportedly “awesome” at taking care of animals — offered to pig-sit in February while Schmitz recovered.
When she tried to recover the pig in April, Schmitz said the co-worker wouldn't return her calls. She said she didn't know where the woman lived and when she finally found the woman's farm Saturday she discovered that Alaina's neck had grown around her collar and the pig had trouble breathing.

Schmitz said she cried for three days after she discovered her pet's weight problem. She said the woman even tried to rename the pig Pork Chop. She said Alaina had trouble breathing and “stunk real bad.” Because the pig-sitter failed to adjust the collar, Alaina’s neck grew around it. Alaina now wears bandages and is healing from a pressure wound and infection on her neck. Schmitz suspects her co-worker let Alaina — normally an indoor pet — run around outside where she gorged on cat food. Schmitz said the pet-sitter’s cats looked like they were just skin and bones when she found Alaina. “She’s different now,” Schmitz said. “She’s scared.”

I think I'd be scared too. It's only time til Alaina, now Pork Chop, becomes a nice tasting compliment to some over-easy eggs, has brown potatoes and a hot cup of coffee. Mmmm. I'm looking forward to that Breakfast Slam!