Lake District breeder offers £20,000 reward to catch prized pig 'murderers' (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Lake District breeder offers £20,000 reward to catch prized pig 'murderers'
AN acclaimed Cumbrian micro-pig breeder has put up a £20,000 reward to find the ‘murderers’ who brutally stabbed three of his prized pigs to death.
Three other pigs suffered serious slash wounds but survived the knife attack in pens at Finsthwaite, near Newby Bridge.
The animals are owned by Robert Rose, who runs Valley of the Pigs at Lowick Bridge.
He found two of the bloodied pigs – an eight-year-old great grandmother and a three-year-old mother lying near her two piglets – dead in their paddock as he went to feed them on Tuesday morning.
A third, a two-year-old boar, was rushed to vets in Broughton-in-Furness but died later.
The boar and the two sows – together worth £8,000 – produce the popular miniature ‘micro pet pigs’, which have featured on ITV1’s The Lakes.
Mr Rose, 46, vowed to do ‘whatever it takes’ to bring the culprits to justice.
“They have deliberately gone in and killed these animals,” he said.
“Someone has picked out these pigs and murdered them. The poor things were just lying there. It’s diabolical, it’s beyond belief.”
The slain animals were among 60 pigs which the heartbroken father-of-three moved from Lowick, near Ulverston, to Finsthwaite just five weeks ago.
Mr Rose expressed his sadness at the loss of one of his oldest sows, which he was particularly fond of.
“She was a very special pig to me, she was so friendly and would walk up to anyone,” said Mr Rose, who has bred the pigs for 18 years.
Valley of the Pigs has the largest selection of micro pet pigs in the UK and has supplied the selectively-bred, knee-high porkers to individuals, zoos, animal parks and open farms for more than 15 years.
Mr Rose said: “It’s absolutely horrendous. They’re trying to destroy my business and I genuinely don’t know why someone would stoop so low.”
The unknown attackers struck between 11.30pm on Monday (October 8) and 9.30am on Tuesday.
PC Mark Turner, of Cumbria Police, who is investigating the incident, appealed for anyone with information to come forward.
“This attack has left Mr Rose distraught,” he said.
“It is an unprovoked attack on innocent animals and has caused a lot of upset.
“We want anyone who was in the area on Monday into Tuesday or who may have seen anything suspicious – such as vehicles which they did not recognise – near to the farm, or people taking an interest in the area, to get in touch.”
PC Turner urged farmers across the region to be vigilant and consider joining the Farmwatch scheme.
He also encouraged them to report anything to police immediately.
Mr Rose, who also cares for elderly and frail pigs, said: “I’m offering a £20,000 reward for any information leading to a conviction.
“I won’t rest until I catch these people. There are murderers wandering around this area.”
Information about the attack should be passed to Ulverston Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Under the Animal Welfare Act, anyone convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal can be sent to prison for six months and fined £20,000.