Former Islander finds homes for unwanted pet pigs
Hawai'i girl Crystal Kimhan moved from Pearl City to Las Vegas more than 11 years ago. Besides being affected by the high cost of living, she also had another reason to move. "I wanted to have sufficient space for my animals to be happy," she said.
She has several animals at home: two elderly dogs, two parrots and two tortoises, all rescued from shelters, and one very sociable pig named Pork Chop. Pork Chop was purchased from a breeder in Texas.
Kimhan is passionate about pig rescue. She has been saving pigs for several years. "Pig rescue is not new, as the importation of these potbelly pigs in the mid-'80s caused a nationwide fad," Kimhan said. "That of course fizzled, and sanctuaries and rescues have to come to their aid. Right now, I am the only pig rescue organization in Southern Nevada, strictly out of need, as the fad has risen again."
Her organization is called www.VegasPigPets. So far she's found homes for 40 pigs, a major feat. Once Kimhan gets to them, they may not be social enough to be placed into another home. The hard truth is if they can't be rehomed, they are euthanized or eaten.
Kimhan shares information about pig rescue through her two Web sites: www.vegaspigpets.org and www.teacuppig.info. Both sites tell the hard truth about cute piglets that outgrow their homes and wind up in shelters or are eaten. She travels out-of-state at least twice a month to transfer pigs to other rescue venues.
Kimhan has a huge networking 'ohana, some in other states. She tries to keep the pig in its original home until she can find a permanent one. It takes about two-six months to find a suitable home. Potential adoptive parents undergo screening and checks. Only 10 percent of the applications are accepted. Once the match is made, Kimhan or her associates not only transport the pig to its new home, but work with the new owner to make sure the pig settles in nicely.
I asked why there are so many unwanted pigs. There are many reasons, Kimhan said. Breeders often mislead the public by selling "mini" or "teacup" pigs. Pigs continue to grow up to 5 years old. When a pig hits 80 to 100 pounds, no one wants it.
Pigs also tend to damage carpet or furniture. Kimhan said, "Pigs are still pigs and need to root and dig!"
Another reason is that breeders do not "fix" — neuter — piglets before sale. Kimhan warned, "An unfixed pig NEVER makes a good pet; it's just plain hormones and especially in males, they turn sexually aggressive!"
Pigs are extremely intelligent. They are the fifth-smartest animal, behind humans, primates, dolphins and whales. Kimhan said: "It's like having a 3-year- old! You need to be prepared to raise a pig for the full 20 years."
Sadly, celebrities like Paris Hilton will buy a piglet as a pet and then everyone wants one. Most people don't do any research on what it is like to raise a pig.
It's people like Kimhan, with a very big heart, who helps these unwanted animals.
Animal lover Leslie Kawamoto has been with the Advertiser for 20 years, or 140 in dog years. Check out her blog at http://islandtails.honadvblogs.com
Eight-year-old Hero is ready to save your day with his winning disposition.
Sadie is a big girl with a serious face and a playful disposition.
These animals already may have found homes. For directions, special events and to see more pets available for adoption, visit www.hawaiianhumane.org or call 946-2187. Call immediately to report lost or found animals, ext. 4.