A Queensland family has been left devastated after their pet pig was euthanised by the council when it was freed from its enclosure.
Michelle Robinson, from Doonan, on the Sunshine Coast, raised the alarm about her 16-year-old daughter’s missing pig Delilah last week after she had disappeared from their home the day before.
She posted a desperate Facebook plea calling for anyone who had seen Delilah to get in touch.
But just days later, she and her family were horrified to discover their beloved pet had been euthanised by Noosa council.
Ms Robinson claims she informed the council of Delilah’s disappearance right away, leaving her questioning the council’s decision to end her life.
“I was hysterical at work. My daughter was beside herself,” she told Yahoo7 News.
The mother said she was informed by the council in a very “abrupt” message that the pet was mistakenly considered feral, despite only being less than 100 metres from the family’s home at the time of her death.
Noosa Council told Yahoo7 News that a feral pig eradication system had been implemented in the area due to a rise in complaints from landowners claiming wild pigs were damaging their property.
A council spokesperson said the family had been previously cautioned over the pig after it had previously broken free of its enclosure.
However Ms Robinson said when council came to inspect their property after Delilah’s gate had been blown open during an intense storm, they were only complimentary over how the pet was confined and kept as a domesticated animal.
“They were well aware we had a desexed, miniature, microchipped pig. We even gave them a photo of Delilah,” Ms Robinson said.
Council’s Local Laws Manager Phil Amson confirmed the pig was shot on March 14 after a complaint from a landowner when the animal had entered a chicken pen.
Family questions council’s decision
Mr Amson claims the pig, which was “believed to be feral”, wasn’t wearing its collar at the time – a claim Ms Robinson refutes.
“I find that very coincidental,” she told Yahoo7 News.
The council claims it was only until Friday that Mr Amson and his team, who had killed another wild boar at a nearby property just days earlier, were informed of Delilah’s escape.
Yet Ms Robinson said she was in constant discussion with the council over Delilah’s disappearance and was reassured her pet wouldn’t be mistaken for a feral pig.
Ms Robinson believes Delilah’s latest escape may have been down to a tradie or visitor to the property accidentally leaving her gate open.
Daughter ‘destroyed’ over Delilah’s death
While the council has apologised directly to the family, they say not enough steps were taken to ensure the pig that was shot was not their pet after council confirmed the pig was shot “from distance”.
“They didn’t check her out that she was microchipped or wearing a collar. They got it wrong. She was a very domesticated pet,” Ms Robinson said.
They also pointed out that if there was a legitimate feral pig eradication policy in place, residents should have been informed.
The mother said her daughter Claire had been so distraught over her pet’s death she had been unable to go into school.
“She is absolutely destroyed. They were best friends,” she said.
“They were inseparable, she’s trained and domesticated and was in the house constantly. She used to take her down to Petbarn even.”
Delilah’s body has since been disposed of by council.
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