Pigs tied up, beaten at historic farm

Stories of animal abuse don't get much stranger or more disgusting that the one involving two pigs at Venetucci Farm, a 190-acre spread near Colorado Springs that was donated to the Pikes Peak Community Foundation in 2006.

According to Lieutenant Lari Sevene, public information officer for the El Paso Sheriff's Department, the pigs were beaten with metal posts several days ago. Then, yesterday, the hind legs of one sow were tied together. The pig was abused so seriously that, says Sevene, "the farm owner is concerned that they may have to put the animal down."

The motive for the attack? Speaking with the Colorado Springs Gazette, farm manager Patrick Hamilton said, "You might think it's out there but I don't know if it's a sexual thing or what. I have to wonder why the back legs were tied together."

Sevene calls this theory "speculation." But the facts are bad enough.

The farm, which has an extensive "junior farmhand" program and gives thousands of pumpkins away to school chlidren each year, has been visited by officers twice in recent days, Sevene says. "The first time was on March 31. The farm owner's initial thought was that there had been some sort of animal attack -- but when he looked closely, he changed his thought process and felt the injuries were as a result of human interaction, as opposed to animal interaction. So he contacted the sheriff's office, and we took a report about animal abuse -- cruelty to animals."

As for the specifics, Sevene says, "It looks like there were these metal T-posts that had been removed from the pen; they secure the gates, and they were found in the same vicinity. One of the pigs had sustained what they describe as a jagged-cut injury to his hindquarter, and then another injury to the face. When the officers arrived, the pig was laying down, and he didn't want to move."

Yesterday, there was a new addition to the attacks. "The hindquarters of one of the pigs were actually tied together. And now the pig is not walking well, not able to put weight on the back legs."

At this point, the sheriff's department has no suspects, and Sevene concedes that "there's not a lot of evidence to be found. So we're reaching out to the community. Hopefully, if people see activity in that location, we can be notified and be given the opportunity to catch whoever it is who's going out and doing this."

For whatever sick reason. The department can be reached at 719-390-5555.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts