A FARMER who lost a drove of pigs to ham-fisted thieves this week says he does not hold out hope his stolen pets will be found alive.
John Murphy, who had previously saved the pigs from being slaughtered, returned home from a business trip on Tuesday morning to discover seven of his animals had been stolen after thieves destroyed a gated fence.
An eighth pig was later found on a nearby road, limping, while three still remained in their pen, but have all since been hesitant to eat and have spent most of the days cowering in a corner of their shelter.
Mr Murphy believes the thieves must have been staking out the property for sometime as they knew when he was not at home.
"I fed the pigs on Sunday and then had to take off," he said. "I reckon it's happened sometime Sunday night.
"We're talking 200-300 pounds animals here, so they would have definitely needed a truck or something to get them. There was tyre marks and something that looked like had been made into a ramp.
"There's also a plum tree nearby which was full of fruit and that's now been stripped, so maybe they've lured them with the fruit.
"When I came back on the Tuesday, I went to feed the animals and there I saw a whole mess in the yard. They've thrown a bit of stuff around looking for anything valuable."
Mr Murphy said he had spoken to neighbours on the rural road, but none had reported seeing or hearing anything suspicious.
"Unfortunately, they've probably been taken to be slaughtered, they were older pigs so maybe they've been slaughtered for dog meat, or even human consumption, who knows?" he said.
"Given what's been done, it would have taken about an hour or so to cut fences and get the pigs onto a truck. I'm hoping someone has seen something.
"It's a good little community out here and people do make an effort to help out. But having spoken to a few people, there is an anxiety around that their animals can be taken. There's a lot of horses and other animals around, people are very concerned.
"I'm now thinking it might be worth putting in cameras."
Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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