The Situation Room – Couple’s loss of pet pigs should make hunters downshift enthusiasm

Mac Olsen

Following a person’s unfortunate but inexcusable mistake, a couple in Ontario is coping with the loss of their two pet potbell pigs, Pickles and Rosie.

CTV News in Ottawa interviewed Matt Nooyen and his wife, Lianne Guilbeault, last week. The incident happened in early November and as per the story:

“We’re truly shattered,” Guilbeault said. “This was my husband’s childhood dream, to have pet pigs.”

A neighbour down the road from them shot the pigs, thinking they were wild boars, while the couple was away.

The story also says the neighbour and Guilbeault exchanged voicemails about the pigs, and she tried to warn him not to shoot them because they were pets. However, the neighbour came onto their property later and shot the pigs and took their carcasses.

The story continues, the neighbour “… said the incident was the biggest mistake of his life. He says he thought he was helping the neighbourhood by putting down wild boars, which can be a dangerous nuisance.”

The couple contemplated legal action against their neighbour. But they have decided instead to raise public awareness that trespassing is illegal.

What happened to the couple’s pet pigs should make some hunters downshift their enthusiasm and overzealousness for the animals they seek.

Although the neighbour may feel remorseful for his actions, he still committed the criminal act of trespassing on the couple’s property. He could and should be charged for this act.

Moreover, he demonstrated impatience at the very least and over-zealousness at worst, in going after the pigs. He was reckless in his conduct by not getting in direct contact with the couple first. If he had done so, this tragedy could have been avoided.

Also, he should have verified the type of pigs they were before he went after them. You can find plenty of information about potbelly pigs and wild boars on the Internet, social media, etc. And if you still don’t know, you can always get in contact with Fish and Wildlife Officers, conservation officers, hunting groups, etc. Nonetheless, caution must be exercised and approval given to access private property if you want to go after wild boars or big game animals.

This is not to say that wild boars aren’t dangerous. I saw a hunting episode on ‘Wild TV’ years ago, about a wild boar that attacked a hunter and did severe damage to his leg.

The unforunate incident in Ontario also puts a microscope on the hunting sport itself. This incident is something that animal rights activists and anti-hunting groups can use in their public relations war against hunting.

Consequently, legitimate hunters will have to demonstrate that they aren’t like the person who shot the pigs. They will also have to make pronouncements against trespassing and that they stand for good conservation practices.

So, overzealous hunters, don’t behave like ignorant swine and learn from the mistakes of the potbelly pig killings.

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