“Come here sweetie,” said Tracey Stabile.
She motions to a more than 150-pound pig slowly lumbering her way. When Maxwell finally makes it there, he drops to the ground and rolls over.
“Hi my love, you’re such a good boy,” she said while petting his massive body covered in black and gray fur.
Pigs wander about around them, seemingly everywhere.
Central Texas Pig Rescue’s three acres is home to 229 pigs. There are so many that the rescue refuge is officially full.
More than half of the pigs here were rescued during two large scale animal cruelty seizures. The largest was in 2018 when deputies took 133 pigs from a breeder in Caldwell County.
In the five years that it’s been open, CTPR has saved more than 300 pigs and helped hundreds of others find new homes.
“We were their last opportunity to be saved,” Stabile said. “Most pigs, even pot-belly pigs – small pigs, they end up going to auctions or being euthanized because there aren’t a lot of options for them.”
Stabile said most people who end up adopting pigs underestimate the amount of work that goes into caring for them. While they’re both affectionate and smart, they also have a destructive and dirty side that many owners aren’t prepared for.
Pigs growing popularity as pets, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic has made times especially challenging for the organization.
It normally relies on a steady stream of small donations to keep afloat, but those have dried up now that visitors are no longer allowed.
It’s also bursting at the seams, and looking to expand.
The vision is a 30 to 40 acre compound, complete with overnight lodging for guests to allow for the ultimate pig immersion experience. So far CTPR has already raised more than $40,000.
“It’s time for us to grow, it’s time for us to be able to offer more to our current residents, the ones that will spend their whole lives here, and to be able to have the opportunity to rescue more pigs in the future,” Stabile said.
Once it reaches $50,000 the organization will be able to begin searching for a new property. However, Stabile said they’ll need $125,000 before they’ll be able to complete the move.