BARNET — A pig named Sue, short for “Chop Suey,” whose owner admittedly lets go loose on his Route 5 property in East Barnet, is continuing to act up, complained neighbors to the town’s Select Board last week.
First Constable Steve Mosher sat at the table with the board on Monday, Sept. 9, and began, “I am getting tired of getting phone calls in the wee hours of the morning about a pig wandering around the Bunnells.”
He said he also is seeing “People on the village community page bitching about a pig on Route 5.”
“It needs to stop,” declared Mosher. “This problem is not just recently. This problem has been going on for quite awhile and whoever owns the pig is not giving a rat’s back side about anybody but himself; he should have his animals under control in a pen where it belongs.”
Select Board Chair Dylan Ford said, “There are certain things that we have to follow. We have taken certain steps, and certain letters haven’t been acknowledged.”
The pig is owned by Billy Noyes.
The Vermont State Police have been contacted, and can’t deal with a pig on the loose, officials discussed.
The state game warden has also been contacted and he told the Bunnells he didn’t want to give advice “one way or another about shooting of the pig. He did say he was going to go down and talk to Billy,” the Bunnell’s timeline of the pig problems states.
Officials and citizens at the meeting talked about their rights — as far as capturing Sue and having her butchered, deducting the costs for damage they say she’s done to their property and giving Noyes, the owner, the difference, after they’ve settled the debts they say she’s caused them.
At the recent meeting, neighbors Sara and Chris Bunnell submitted photos of damage that the pig has allegedly wreaked on their property, from damaging a pool to knocking over a smoker, getting into pet food, their cooler and more. All told, the couple said, Sue has cost them $933.98.
Noyes was not at the meeting on Monday night.
The Bunnells were sympathetic to Noyes and his children now regarding the pig as a pet, and Noyes not being able to go through with bringing Sue to the butcher, and postponing an appointment for that service for weeks, he’s said.
Sara Bunnell said she had thought of “another possible option, which was there is a farm animal sanctuary specifically up in East Burke,” at the Mountain View Farm on Darling Hill Road. “We can try to get the owner of the pig to surrender it,” she said, and then his kids can visit it.
Of Noyes, Sara Bunnell said at the meeting, “He’s said he has a butcher lined up for about four weeks now, and it’s hard … he doesn’t want to eat the pig.”
Mosher said, “He’s also had it chained to a post with a big collar on its throat, and now it’s roaming back and forth.”
Chris Bunnell said that the pig put its nose through the family’s pool and rolled their smoker around the yard. Those two items are on a list of damages they say Sue caused, the 18 by 9 Intex pool costing $529.99 online, and the Masterbuilt smoker $189.99 at Cabela’s, their list shows.
Other items they say they’re out of pocket for due to pig damages are a Coleman cooler, $92, a white Igloo cooler worth $87, chicken treats worth $10, rabbit food worth $10, and chicken food worth $15.
The Bunnells submitted the expenses as well as a one-sheet list of Sue’s offenses, titled PIG Timeline.
The entry for Aug. 29 details Sue having been written about and become something of a celebrity: “Pig in front yard eating chicken food & rabbit food. Cooler knocked over. Sue makes the front page.”
Someone at the meeting asked when was the last time the pig was on the Bunnell’s property, and Sara said, “I know that the pig was loose on the 31st (of August).”
Their yard is covered in cloven-shaped footprints, the couple said, “My yard is destroyed,” she shared, adding, “We’re not here to cause any discontent.”
Chris Bunnell added, “We’ve been more than nice.”
Mosher expressed concern that the animal will get hit on Route 5. “This pig is out roaming around all hours of the night. People travel Route 5. Someone is going to hit this animal. Who is going to be liable for this incident? Somebody is going to have to get hurt before we can actually do anything about this pig.”
“He’s not answering anybody’s letters,” said Mosher of Noyes, and the town’s letters to him about violations with the animal.
To Noyes’s recent description of the pig being a “free range pig,” Selectman Ben Gates asked, “Is it a pet or is it a pig?”
Chris Bunnell said one time, the pig did come at him; Sara said she told him, “Don’t shoot the pig!”
Other ways of dealing with the pig situation including fines and even a lien on the property for unpaid fines were discussed.
“Once Billy realizes the pig is going to cost him a fortune, he either gets rid of it or fixes it,” said Mosher.
Sara Bunnell said Billy Noyes has replaced some items the pig has eaten or damaged and did buy their rabbit a toy and food. She said, “It’s all been civil,” and she urges him, “You need to keep your pig home.”
“Sometimes, we walk it back over,” said Sara Bunnell.