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Potbellied pigs may be put up for adoption soon

Humane Society waiting to see if prior owner appeals

Some of the 54 potbellied pigs rescued from a Meshoppen barn on July 28 by the Humane Society of Lackawanna County mingle in a Glenburn barn. They might be put up for adoption soon.

Submitted Photo

The 54 potbellied pigs that were rescued in the summer may soon be up for adoption.

The owner, Marla Burnham, of Meshoppen, was charged with four counts of animal cruelty before District Judge John Hovan, on Nov. 21.

Burnham has 30 days to appeal, said Tina Walter, head officer for the Humane Society of Lackawanna County. The Humane Society will hold the pigs and their recent offspring for 30 days, before allowing people to adopt them.

“Personally I don’t think she’ll win an appeal,” Walter said.

The 54 potbellied pigs were rescued July 28 by the Lackawanna County shelter after they were found in a cramped Meshoppen barn without sufficient food or water.

Walter said the trial lasted five hours but “was worth it.”

Seven witnesses testified, including volunteers, the owner and tenant of the barn where Burnham was housing the pigs.

A key witness was Renny Shoop, a Jim Thorpe veterinarian who presented the tusks that he’d removed from the pigs as evidence.

“It showed how bad they were,” Walter said. “Some took a year to get the way they were.”

Walter said Burnham was charged a $300 fine for each charge of animal cruelty. She also was ordered to pay $8,000 in restitution.

“It’s not that she didn’t want to care for the pigs. She didn’t have the means to care for the pigs,” Walter said. “It doesn’t have to be a wanton act to be charged with animal cruelty.”

Walter said people may foster the animals, currently residing in a Glenburn barn, before the 30-day appeal period ends.

If Burnham doesn’t appeal or loses the appeal, the animals can be adopted by their foster owners or others.

Each adoptive pig owner must pay the neutering fee for the animals, which Walter said is mandatory. A specific cost has not yet been determined, as the Humane Society is looking for a veterinarian to perform the surgery. Walter estimated the cost to range between $60 to $100 per pig.

Walter has her eye on one potbellied pig – the one she calls “Scruffy” – and hopes she can adopt it.

Those interested in adopting can stop by The Humane Society of Lackawanna County at 967 Griffin Pond Road for more information or to fill out adoption applications. Business hours are noon to 4:30 p.m. all week. For more information, call 586-3700.

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