At 2 a.m. on June 1, watchful neighbour Ben Murbach alerted Electoral Area “G” Director Angelique Wood that there were six pigs hanging out in her garden. It was not clear at that time where the pigs had come from.
Arising from bed to investigate, she “caught” the young pigs chewing on leafy greens under a giant willow tree. She returned to the house to grab her camera, and returned to find the marauders decimating another neighbour’s iris and strawberry patch. As the pigs were clearly skittish and with nowhere to put them, Wood and her partner Travis Barck made the sensible choice to return to bed, hoping to learn more about the strange visitors in the morning.
At 6 a.m., Wood made a beeline for the OAPO hall, where locals gather every morning to gossip, drink coffee, and solve the problems arising each day. One of the regular coffee-drinkers, Michelle Jacobs, was able to identify the pigs as having escaped from the Upper Similkameen Indian Reserve, as she had seen band member Brianne Holmes chasing the pigs on Thursday, May 31.
Later in the day of Saturday, June 2, the pigs were “sighted” and cornered in the driveway of Jaquine Manet-Bobier. Mrs. Verigren, the one whose garden had been destroyed by rooting piglets, sought help from Angelique Wood who joined Doug Nimchuk in cordoning off the pigs within Manet-Bobier’s gated drive.
A plan to catch the pigs was quickly devised, as the observers present realized that a pick-up truck or a trailer would be necessary as a “containment unit” before any efforts were made to catch them. Another neighbour, Russ Stoney, was enlisted to gather his jeep and trailer and between the three off-duty volunteer firefighters, Nimchuk, Stoney, and Wood, the animals were grabbed, and hauled, kicking and squealing, into the trailer and back onto the reserve where they were re-penned. Stoney and Wood spent some time making the pig-run a bit more “impenetrable” by tying lengths of logs against the areas which the pigs had obviously forced open.
Long time residents of Hedley seem in agreement that the pigs on the loose is one of the strangest stories in our small towns’ history. Thanks to all the quick-thinkers who “saved the bacon” for the time being…
Contributed by Angelique Wood