PANAMA CITY – Encountering a surly subject unwilling to go without a fight is not unusual for officers.
But when the subject is a more than 200-lb, hoofed and testy potbelly pig, getting a collar on isn't quite covered at the academy.
Panama City Police officers spent about 30 minutes Tuesday making attempts to wrangle a potbelly pig that had been running loose in the downtown Panama City area since Hurricane Michael. Several officers arrived at about 11 a.m. to the intersection of 5th Avenue and Beach Drive to try and corner the pig while another officer made repeated attempts to lasso a makeshift leash around its neck. After numerous tries in front of a large crowd of onlookers, officers were able to secure the petulant pig and get it en route the animal shelter.
As the large pig bucked and flailed in the air and belted out curdling squeals, Candi Bessel – whose family raises hogs in Mississippi – said the officers were missing one key strategy to performing a hog tie.
“They got to get something around his hooves,” she said. “You don’t control the hooves, you don’t control the pig.”
Thanom Johnson, a nearby resident, called police at about 11 a.m. to a nearby parking lot, where the pig had been peacefully grazing. Her concern was that the pig would run into traffic and get injured or killed.
“Whoever you are, you sure are handsome,” she told the pig as officers began to arrive.
Johnson had first heard about it while at the post office and came to look at the curious creature, obviously displaced from its home. Ultimately, she had hoped to be able to provide the pig with a home. Johnson said she’d lost her husband a couple years ago and collected various pets to the fill the void in her heart.
The massive potbelly pig, she said, would take up a lot of that room.
Bessel, who works downtown, had been seeing the pig for at least a week roaming downtown. It appeared to be a female, and she usually had boyfriend potbelly pig that was about the same size with her. Bessel said several characteristics of the pig – she had petted and hand fed both pigs at one point – told her it hadn’t been raised wild.
“It’s not a boar mentality,” Bessel said. “It’s somebody’s pet that either got loose during the storm or got displaced somehow. I hope it finds its way home because someone raised it.”
Bay County Animal Control responded and took the animal into custody after PCPD had it leashed. The animal will be taken to the animal shelter for the time being.