Homer, a Louisiana pig who was purchased for a Mother’s Day meal, then tied up, beaten with a broom handle, and attacked by dogs, will spend the rest of his days at a sanctuary – although he’s had quite a journey to get there.
Dana Nesbitt, the president of the Louisiana Humane Society, said plans are underway to transfer Homer from boarding to the Enoch J. Donaldson Animal Sanctuary at Mt. Herman, pending construction of a new enclosure.
“We are very aware of his very sad story, as we received and responded to the original cruelty complaint,” Nesbitt told Lady Freethinker (LFT) via email. “We are pleased that we will be able to give him the happy life he deserves.”
Homer first made headlines in 2020, when news reported that two Kenner men had purchased him in Hammond with the intent to slaughter the Yorkshire pig for a Mother’s Day meal. While that act is not illegal in Louisiana, a witness who heard cries of distress observed the men beating Homer’s head and neck with a broom handle and then allowing their two pit bull dogs to attack the squealing pig. Both pit bulls were euthanized following the attack, and the men – Orelvis Otero Pinero and Onisley Bravo Fleites – faced resulting animal cruelty charges.
Even after surviving such a horrific ordeal, the innocent pig’s journey has met with snags.
He reportedly recovered from his dog bite puncture wounds in 2020 at the Rescue Ranch in Belle Chasse, La., a nonprofit whose active standing was revoked by the Secretary of State in 2018 and had not been reinstated at the time of this story’s publication, according to state records, and which did not respond to repeated media inquiries for this story.
From there, Homer was supposed to find a happy forever home with the Little Bear Sanctuary in Florida, a nonprofit focusing on rescued farm animals, where he would have joined 150 other rescued animals, including 72 rescued pigs who have free run of the facility.
Little Bear’s Executive Director Chris Vane had obtained the needed paperwork from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences and also built awareness and anticipation with the community’s animal lovers. He had opened a naming contest, with a winning title of “Kenny” selected to honor the pig’s roots.
But Homer – or Kenny – never arrived.
“He never made it to me,” Vane told Lady Freethinker in 2021. “The shelter never told me what happened to him. I was extremely angry and many other people were expecting him here.”
Vane shared with LFT an update email from July 2020 that stated a veterinarian had not been able to take a blood sample from Homer, even with the use of two sedatives, and that as a result “it looks like we’ll have to find a home for Homer in Louisiana.”
Nesbitt, who was not the active president during the incident with Homer, told LFT that she believed there had been an “issue with relocating Homer to Little Bear, as planned.”
“It was something along the lines of our crew experiencing legitimate difficulties moving him, which were beyond our control,” she said.
Relocation plans were canceled, she confirmed.
“As we have our own sanctuary property and knew that we could eventually take him in permanently ourselves, we made a change of plans,” she said. “I was sorry to hear that many people were upset at not getting to welcome Homer. I remember that our crew members were quite upset about the situation as well, but such is occasionally the nature of rescue.”
Homer has been privately boarded by the charity since they took custody of him and will continue to be boarded until staff can move him to the sanctuary, Nesbitt added.
“I am happy to report he is fine,” she said. ‘We have been paying for his care and boarding, and he will be coming to stay with us permanently at our own sanctuary, once we complete a new pig housing area.”
Meanwhile, on the criminal end of things, Otero Pinero and Bravo Fleites, the men charged for the cruelty, pled guilty in January 2021 and were sentenced to pay respective fines of $222.75 and $220.75. They were not given any probation as a part of their sentence, according to a First Parish Judicial Court clerk.
We are disgusted with such a lackadaisical sentence for an act of such atrocious and intentional cruelty inflicted on a sentient animal.
We are overjoyed, however, that Homer’s future will include a move out of boarding and into a specially designed haven where he will have room to roam and the life free from cruelty that he deserves.
We thank Little Bear Sanctuary and the Louisiana Humane Society for being willing to step up for this innocent animal, as well as the 34,167 people who signed our petition urging accountability and justice for this sweet pig.