MARANA (KGUN9-TV) - The Ironwood Pig Sanctuary is working to dispel rumors about the growing "mini pig craze" across the country.
"Animal cruelty is what it is, animal cruelty."
That's how Mary Schanz describes the breeding of miniature potbellied pigs. For the past 15 years, she's been rescuing and rehabilitating pigs that get too big of their owners and are left without a home.
"They're being lied to basically by the breeders," said Schanz. "They say they won't get big and they do get big."
According to the SPCA,
the so-called mini pigs can grow up to weigh 250 pounds. The Ironwood Pig Sanctuary in Marana currently cares for more than 600 pigs, most of which will live there for the rest of their lives.
Schanz says some breeders are making up to $2,000 per mini pig that they breed. But, when they grow bigger than expected or develop health problems, their owners give them up.
"They're inbred so badly to get them small that their joints are not developing properly, they have hip problems, leg problems, organ problems, every conceivable problem from being starved to death."
The Ironwood Pig Sanctuary runs entirely on donations and are running out of resources to bring in more animals.
"A lot of animal shelters do not take these pigs in they end up in slaughterhouses."
Schanz is working to educate the public about the dangers associated with mini pigs in hopes that one day the craze will end.
For more information or to donate to the Ironwood Pig Sanctuary, click here.