Tears swell up in the eyes of Sandi Trent as she remembers Molly, a pot-bellied pig that was recently adopted from the Cowichan & District branch of the SPCA.
Trent, the long-time manager of the branch, said she and her staff have been devastated to learn that Molly was killed and eaten by the people who adopted her last month.
Trent said this is the first time this has happened in the 20 years she has been with the SPCA’s Cowichan branch.
“It’s a nightmare,” she said with thick emotion in her voice on Feb. 23 after a meeting with her staff regarding the issue.
“We have stringent policies in place as part of the adoption process for all the animals we have here, which include dogs, cats and goats right now. We also have long conversations with the people looking to adopt animals to make sure the animal is right for them. This is just devastating for us.”
Molly, a three-year-old Vietnamese potbelly pig, was one of 57 pot-bellied pigs that ended up in the SPCA’s care in May, 2017, after the owner determined he was no longer able to care for them.
Most were successfully adopted out locally, and some were sent to other SPCA branches.
Molly was adopted by a couple in Duncan on Jan. 19, but it was discovered that on Feb. 16, Molly had been killed and eaten.
Trent said that as part of the adoption agreement, Molly’s new owners had agreed not to use the pig for food.
But there is little the SPCA can do in regards to enforcing this part of the agreement.
An official with BC SPCA said that because animals are considered property under the law, once an adoption agreement is made, that person is the full legal owner of that animal and the SPCA loses all legal rights to the animal.
The BC SPCA did send constables to the property to investigate the matter and concluded Molly was killed humanely, but the man who adopted the animal is never allowed to adopt again from the SPCA.
Trent said she remembers all the pot-bellied pigs that came to the SPCA, and recalls Molly specifically.
“They were all characters in their own way,” she said.
“The response from the community was amazing and we had some fabulous foster families adopt the pigs. It’s a very difficult time for all of us here right now.”