Have you ever had to catch a potential 600-pound Christmas ham on the day in question?
If not, Deana Tice has an enticing tale of a random Facebook post that soon turned into a group of residents and Anne Arundel County Animal Care and Control officials trying to wrangle an estimated 600-pound hog in Davidsonville right at the heart of the holiday season.
“Christmas Day we actually kind of saw on Facebook that there was a loose hog in the Harwood area. A few people had contacted us and we said, ‘Nope, it’s not ours. Ours are all where they belong,’ ” Tice said.
County police spokeswoman Sgt. Jacklyn Davis said residents spotted the huge hog “kind of running amok” in the area of Greenhaven Lane.
But Wednesday she said she received a call from Erin Pittman, wife of County Executive Steuart Pittman, who said they’d spotted the pig at Dodone Farms, the Pittman’s family farm.
The county executive said he was shocked to find the pig at his farm Wednesday harassing one of his horses.
He said they were able to put the horse in a stable without much hassle, but county officials were unable to corral the pig into another stable.
They said they still needed help and wanted Tice’s experience, who has wrangled pigs at her En-Tice-Ment Farms.
So Tice and some members of the Harwood 4-H Club worked together to get the pig in a confined area.
Club member Kelsey Winters said she got a call from the club’s leader about the pig and went to help corral the pig, despite its somewhat inconvenient timing.
“So I ran home and I grabbed my pig board out of my shed, and I put it in the back of my car and drove over to the farm,” she said.
For the uninitiated, a “pig board” is a board used to guide and herd the livestock. QC Supply has the “Kane Swine Two Way Sorting Panel,” fashioned at 30 inches by 36 inches and made with a “durable high-density polyethylene,” priced at $34.99 before shipping.
But according to fellow 4-H member and Deana’s son, Cody, corralling the caper was not something that even the most expensive swine two-way sorting panel could solve on its own.
Rather, it was a game of patience, he said. He said he first set eyes on “this massive, hairy black and white pig in the middle of the field” and saw officials with county animal control struggling to rein it in.
“You get a plan and … if you’re like pushing him over and he kind of turns and goes away from our little herd, then you just have patience and you try again,” Cody said.
For Kelsey, she said it was a feeling of pride to see her fellow 4-H members play a big role in bringing the pig into temporary custody.
“It meant a lot to … with my 4-H friends to be able to get a pig that large and kind of save the day and help everybody out,” she said. “Because for trained professionals who can do that kind of thing, for them to not be able to and then for us, just kids, being able to do something like that meant a lot and showed a lot about what we do.”
Although county officials were eventually able to pen the pig in at Deana Tice’s farm, they’d really like the owner to come grab it for them.
Davis said county officials can’t move the pig — who some of his rescuers are calling “Harold” — because none of the county facilities have gates or fences considered strong enough to house a 600-pound pig should he make a break for it.
Anyone with information about the pig’s origins or owners can call animal control at 410-222-8900.